Showing posts with label human rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label human rights. Show all posts

Thursday, May 31, 2012

By supporting Israel, Hillary Clinton and Congress flout US human rights law

Josh Ruebner is National Advocacy Director at the US Campaign. 

Guess which institution had the following to say about Israel’s human rights record in 2011:



  • “Arab citizens of the country faced institutional and societal discrimination.”
  • “Resources devoted to Arabic education were inferior to those devoted to Hebrew education in the public education system.”
  • “Human rights organizations reported that ‘physical interrogation methods’ permitted by Israeli law and used by Israeli security personnel could amount in practice to torture.”
  • “In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Israeli Civil Administration, part of Israel’s Ministry of Defense, continued to demolish homes, cisterns, and other buildings and property constructed by Palestinians in areas under Israeli civil control on the basis that these buildings lacked Israeli planning licenses. Compensation was generally not offered in these cases.”
  • “In East Jerusalem, under Israeli authority, displays of Palestinian political symbols were punishable by fines or imprisonment.”
  • “The [Israeli military] IDF continued its use of a 1967 military order that effectively prohibited Palestinian demonstrations and limited freedom of speech in the West Bank. The order stipulates that a ‘political’ gathering of 10 or more persons requires a permit from the regional commander of military forces. The penalty for a breach of the order is 10 years’ imprisonment or a heavy fine.”
  • “The Israeli government obstructed refugee access to [United Nations agency for Palestine refugees] UNRWA-provided humanitarian assistance in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”
  • “Some Israeli settlers reportedly used violence against Palestinians as a means of harassment and to keep them away from land that settlers sought to expropriate … Settlers also exploited religious tensions to harass Palestinian villages by vandalizing, breaking into, or burning 10 mosques.

If you were the typical member of Congress who believes that Israel is a shining beacon of light to humanity and the greatest thing since sliced bread, then you would probably answer one of the following: some anti-Semitic agency of the United Nations, an obviously biased Palestinian organization, or one of those self-hating Israeli organizations.

But you would be wrong.


These quotations come from the US State Department’s
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011, released on 24 May. Despite the muted language, the report paints a damning picture of Israel’s human rights abuses of the Palestinian people. From governmental and societal discrimination based on ethnicity (the international definition of apartheid), to flagrant violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention, the State Department scratches the surface of Israel’s atrocious policies toward Palestinians in this report.

Continue reading on The Electronic Intifada 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Suggestion for the State Department on Human Rights and Business

Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights Maria Otero spoke yesterday at the State Department on implementing the Guiding Principles of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

Otero claims that "We must establish clear guidelines and reliable processes so that business can do their part in respecting human rights. The U.S. government uses our foreign policy to help strengthen the rule of law and human rights, which in turn improves the environment for prosperous business. It also ensures investment and innovation don’t violate standards of stable and democratic society."

That sounds just fine and dandy, Under Secretary Otero.  Here's a suggestion to help advance the United States' supposed concern for businesses respecting human rights: get the State Department to stop licensing Caterpillar D9 bulldozers for export to the Israeli military, paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

As we've documented copiously over the years, Israel has misused these bulldozers in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act to commit human rights abuses of Palestinians, including the deliberate injuring and killing of civilians, the demolition of civilian homes and businesses, the razing of Palestinian agriculture, and the building of Israel's illegal settlements and Apartheid Wall.

Under Secretary Otero, we challenge you to implement your fine words about the United States encouraging businesses to respect human rights: sanction Israel by ending U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons transfers of Caterpillar bulldozers and stop U.S. corporate profiteering from violations of Palestinian human rights.

But, we're not waiting for you to take action either.  Right now we're down in Tampa encouraging the United Methodists to divest from Caterpillar and other corporations that profit from Israeli military occupation. Follow the latest developments from Tampa on our Twitter feed here.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hana al-Shalabi on Day 41 of Hunger Strike


Hana al-Shalabi is a 30-year-old Palestinian woman and resident of Burqin village near Jenin who was taken from her home and arrested on February 16. On February 23, she was given an administrative detention order for six months. She has been on a hunger strike for 41 days in protest of her violent arrest, the harmful and degrading ill-treatment she suffered following her arrest and of her administrative detention.

Just two days ago, an Israeli military judge rejected an appeal against Hana's administrative detention without charge or trial claiming that there are grounds to continue holding her as she is a threat to Israel’s security.

But as Amnesty International makes clear, Israel must either charge Hana with a recognizable criminal offence and promptly try her or release her.

Hana, just like Khader Adnan, needs international solidarity and support for her case to amplify her voice and that of nearly 5,000 fellow Palestinian prisoners, including approximately 310 held in administrative detention without charge.

Send a letter now to Israeli officials demanding her freedom.

Call the office of Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, and demand the United States intervene to force Israel to release Hana Shalabi and all political prisoners. The number is 202-647-7209. Find talking points here.

Tweet: Demand Israel release Hana al-Shalabi immediately! #FreeHana

Watch the video below to learn more about Hana's case. And make sure to share with your friends and followers.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

US Campaign Thanks Cassandra Wilson for Supporting Cultural Boycott

In late February, US jazz singer Cassandra Wilson canceled a schedule performance at the Holon International Women's Festival in Israel. Wilson, a world-renowned vocalist, canceled her performance after appeals from boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists encouraging her to respect the Palestinian call for BDS. According to an article at Electronic Intifada citing the Hebrew Israeli daily Ynet, the Grammy award winning Wilson announced, "as a human rights activist, I identify with the cultural boycott of Israel." The article also reports that concert promoters are considering legal action her. The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation released the following letter of thanks and appreciation to Wilson.


Dear Cassandra Wilson,

We are a diverse coalition of more than 380 organizations across the United States working to change U.S. policy and end U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid. We are writing to applaud you for your courageous decision not to play for the Holon International Women's Festival. Thank you for your statement in support of the cultural boycott of Israel as called for by Palestinian civil society. 

Although the government-funded Holon festival claimed to empower women, since Palestinian women were excluded, this was selective empowerment. Your brave decision to refrain from performing in Israel showed respect and deep compassion for Palestinian women and your action is an inspiration for other women to stand up against injustice. We thank you for enduring the intense pressure to perform for the Holon festival. You showed great strength by seeking information about the BDS campaign and deciding to cancel so close to your scheduled performance. 

It is not uncommon for an artist who takes such a stand to be on the receiving end of false accusations, threats, and unfounded criticism by apologists for the Israeli crimes. In solidarity, we hope that you remain strong in the face of such pressure and recognise there is enormous support for you and respect for your decision among those who embrace justice, human rights and freedom. You have joined a growing list of artists of conscience who have refused to play in today’s Sun City and we all express our gratitude to you.

Sincerely, 

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Policy Brief Explores Palestinian Leadership Strategies

Noura Erakat, a former US Campaign National Organizer and Legal Advocate, published today an important policy brief--"Beyond Sterile Negotiations: Looking for a Leadership with a Strategy"--examining alternatives for both rights-based and political program-based strategies for achieving Palestinian human rights and national liberation.

Although the US Campaign, as a broad-based U.S. organization, takes no positions on intra-Palestinian political questions, Noura's important policy brief, published by Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, makes for stimulating and thought-provoking reading for anyone concerned with the attainment of Palestinians' long-denied rights.

From the synopsis:

"Given the abject failure of the Palestine Liberation Organization to secure Palestinian rights over the decades since it was established, it is long past time to explore how a national liberation strategy can be elaborated and by whom. In this policy brief, Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Noura Erakat examines the political leadership vacuum left by the Oslo Accords and then discusses the role of the Palestinian diaspora in the creation of numerous transnational networks that have attempted to fill the void of authoritative leadership. She then discusses the role of the Boycott National Committee and the strategy of using boycott, divestment, and sanctions as a human rights-based approach without a political program. Erakat also draws on lessons from the South African experience and addresses the dangers of achieving reconciliation without revolutionary solutions."

Read all of Noura's policy brief here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Obama's Real Israel Problem

Bennis
US Campaign Steering Committee member Phyllis Bennis published a strong piece in the L.A. Times calling for equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis as the basis for a change in U.S. policy to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a just and equitable way.

Check out her op-ed below and comment on it here.


Obama's real Israel problem -- and it isn't Bibi
Phyllis Bennis
January 6, 2012

Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, responds to The Times' Jan. 2 Op-Ed article, "Bibi and Barack." Bennis is the coauthor of "Ending the U.S. War in Afghanistan: A Primer" and the author of "Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer." 
If you would like to write a full-length response to a recent Times article, editorial or Op-Ed, here are our FAQs and submission policy.
Photo credit: J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press
Aaron David Miller is right: President Obama does have an Israel problem. But Miller is wrong about the roots of the problem.

The problem isn't Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or his Likud Party, or even Israel's current extreme right-wing government. Israel's fundamental policy toward the Palestinians is the problem, and that policy has hardly changed, despite the seemingly diverse sequence of left, right and center parties that have been in power.

Just look at the occupation of the territories seized in 1967 -- the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Settlement building, along with all the land and water theft that goes with it, began just weeks after the Six-Day War. And a right-wing government wasn't in power; it was Mapai, the left-wing precursor to today's Labor Party. The right wing wouldn't come to power until almost three decades after Israel's founding, when Menachem Begin led the Likud coalition to victory in 1977.

Settlement construction and expansion started right after the war and continued under all the leftist (in the Israeli context) governments. By the time Likud came to power 10 years after the 1967 war, there were already more than 50,000 Israeli settlers living in Jews-only settlements in the occupied territories, most of them in occupied East Jerusalem, with smaller numbers in the West Bank and Gaza. Settlement expansion advanced under Labor, Likud and Kadima-led governments. Now there are more than 600,000 settlers living illegally in Palestinian territory, divided between the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

As Moshe Dayan, a former defense and foreign minister, explained, the settlements were necessary "not because they can ensure security better than the army but because without them we cannot keep the army in those territories. Without them the [Israel Defense Forces] would be a foreign army ruling a foreign population."

The different parties, prime ministers and officials sometimes used different language. Some repeated the words the international community wanted, a "land for peace" deal and "two states"; others insisted that only "peace for peace" or "Jordan is Palestine" was acceptable. Some spoke loudly in defense of settlements, while others only whispered.

But there was no diversity of substance. What happened in the real world, the "facts on the ground," continued regardless of which party was in power.

Other things continued too -- settler violence against Palestinians, expropriation of Palestinian land and water, illegal closures, collective punishments including massive armed assault, arrest without charge, extra-judicial assassinations and the siege of Gaza.

Of course, that's just in the occupied territories. Inside Israel, Arab Israelis -- those who survived the dispossession of 1947-48 -- live as second-class citizens. They have the right to vote, but they are subject to legalized discrimination in favor of the Jewish majority. The Israeli human rights organization Adalah reported to the United Nations more than 20 such discriminatory laws, the most important of which deny Palestinian citizens equal rights on issues of immigration and citizenship as well as land ownership. And outside, the Palestinian refugees, now numbering in the millions, have been denied their internationally guaranteed right of return by Israeli governments of every political stripe.

The whole range of Israeli political parties has continued to implement these same policies. They may talk a different talk, but they all walk the same walk.

What none of these governments is prepared to acknowledge is what it will take for a real solution, one that is lasting, comprehensive and just: human rights and equality for all based on international law. It shouldn't be more complicated than that. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifies everyone has the right to return to their home country, no exceptions; that everyone has the right to live in safety, no exceptions; that everyone has the right to an equal say in the government that rules their country, no exceptions.

Every law should treat all citizens the same, no exceptions. Every government has the obligation to live up to the treaties it has signed, including the U.N. conventions on human rights, against racism, the Geneva Conventions and more. Israel has signed them all. Yet not one Israeli government, of any party, has implemented them.

As long as the United States provides the Israeli government more than $3 billion in aid every year, regardless of those violations, and protects Israel from being held accountable in the U.N., regardless of those violations, no Israeli prime minister has much reason to change. That's Obama's Israel problem -- not Netanyahu. Changing U.S. policy should provide the solution.

ALSO:

Bibi and Barack

Middle East states of mind

Settlement outposts at root of Jewish violence in West Bank

-- Phyllis Bennis


SEE ORIGINAL ARTICLE...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Give Bibi a Thumbs Down!

On the eve of International Human Rights Day, Bibi Netanyahu declared: “Israel will continue to proudly raise the torch of freedom and human rights.”




Of course what Netanyahu fails to mention is that the Israeli military uses U.S. tax dollars to force millions of Palestinians to live under a brutal occupation.

You can challenge this blatant misrepresentation of Palestinian suffering by taking these three steps:


1.
Give the speech a "thumbs down" on YouTube. 

2.
Tell Congress that you reject Netanyahu's false statements. Between 2009-2018, the United States is sending $30 billion in military aid to Israel. U.S. tax dollars should not be bankrolling the occupation and denial of Palestinian human rights.

3. Sign up to help organize opposition to military aid for Israel.


And remember to share with all your friends and followers!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Activists Mic Check the "Ethical Standards" of the IDF

Sergeant Nadav Weinberg of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) is once again touring college and university campuses in the US absurdly promoting “the ethical standards of the IDF.” Weinberg conducted a similar tour last year, and you may recall the response his propaganda received from US Campaign coalition group ASU-SJP. Last week solidarity activists in Boulder, Colorado picketed and interrupted Weinberg’s presentation at the University of Colorado’s (CU) Chabad Jewish Student Center. US Campaign coalition member CU Divest! released the following the statement regarding their protest of Weinberg’s talk.

For Immediate Release

December 1, 2011

CONTACT: Michael Rabb, CU-Divest, 2002 18th Street, Boulder CO 80302 720-837-9674, michael.rabb1@gmail.com, https://sites.google.com/site/cudivest/

Activists at University of Colorado Disrupt Israeli Military Presentation: White Phosphorous Is Not Ethical

On Wednesday evening, 6:30pm, November 30, about 15 activists gathered at CU Chabad Jewish Student Center, 909 14th Street, in Boulder, to picket and demonstrate against Israel’s pernicious and immoral crimes against humanity. CU Chabad was hosting a talk by Sgt. Nadav Weinberg, a representative of the Israeli Defense Forces. Sgt Weinberg’s presentation is part of a USA tour of several college campuses designed to inform students about the high ethical standards of the IDF.

Michael Rabb, local activist and one of the founders of a campaign to get the University of Colorado to divest from Israeli apartheid, says Weinberg’s presentation was perfectly timed: On the 3rd anniversary of “Cast Lead”, Israel’s slaughter of 1400 people in the Gaza Strip, including hundreds of children, it’s entirely appropriate that we, students, faculty and members of the CU community confront Israel’s crimes against humanity.

During the presentation, several of the protesters in attendance stood up and “mic checked” Sgt. Weinberg. Using call-and-response, occupy wall street human microphone technique the activists accused Israel’s military of murder, massacre and war crimes. Rabb was forcibly removed from the meeting hall. Other activists stayed for the presentation and a few were even allowed to ask questions, like, “Sgt. Weinberg, how does dropping 2000 lb. bunker buster bombs on schools and hospitals demonstrate IDF ethics?”

It’s sort of amazing, perhaps “chutzpa” is the right word, for the Israeli military to send someone to Boulder Colorado to try and explain or whitewash their war crimes. Cast Lead is where Israel bombed this little piece of land (about 20 miles long 5 miles wide): the most densely populated piece of land on earth (1.5 million people) - with white phosphorous, cluster bomb units, (these would be anti-personnel weapons), not to mention the bunker busters, 2000-pound bombs that crushed homes, schools and hospitals.

CU-Divest is a grassroots movement: We are students, faculty and staff of the University of Colorado, and members of the University community at large, who are deeply concerned that the University of Colorado invests in companies that profit from Israel's illegal and immoral occupation and apartheid of the Palestinian people. CU-Divest is part of part of a global movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel for its crimes of apartheid.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

US Campaign Co-chair addresses U.N. General Assembly


This morning Peter Miller, Co-chair of the US Campaign's Steering Committee, gave the following address at the United Nations General Assembly, at the invitation of the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

Solemn Commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People

United Nations 
New York
November 29, 2011


Remarks by Peter Miller 
President, Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights
Co-Chair, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. President, Excellencies:

I am honored to speak to you today on this solemn commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I am but one voice among many from global civil society who are deeply concerned about the plight of Palestinians resulting from Israel's policies of occupation, settlement, siege and the denial of Palestinian rights. Many civil society activists around the world have dedicated their lives seeking a just resolution to the Palestine-Israel conflict. Some have paid a huge price for their efforts. And why must civil society pay such a high price? It is because of the failure, your excellencies, of the United Nations and governments to implement international law.

As an American, I am deeply disturbed, as are many Americans, by the role the my government plays in preventing Palestinians from achieving their aspirations and their human rights. The U.S. unconditionally gives Israel $3 billion every year in military aid and ignores Israel's many systematic and continuing human rights violations. Those include the illegal use of military weapons against civilian populations and the ever  expanding Israeli settlements, the expansion of its separation wall on Palestinian lands, the treatment of its Palestinian citizens as second class human beings and the denial of the rights of Palestinian refugees. One of the challenges to the UN and the international community, if you truly are committed to upholding the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, is to confront the deeply negative role of the U.S. in perpetuating injustice and enabling Israel to continue to violate international law and destroy the possibility of realizing Palestinian aspirations.

The admission of Palestine into the UN Organization UNESCO is a great victory for the UN and the voice of people around the world. 107 countries, representing over 75% of the world's population voted to include Palestine, truly “We the Peoples of the United Nations.” Unfortunately, the Obama administration was eager to enforce archaic U.S. laws, and cut off U.S. dues to UNESCO. Also unfortunate is the fact that the Obama, and earlier U.S. administrations, have failed to uphold other U.S. laws conditioning military aid to countries, such as Israel, which use U.S. supplied weapons against civilian populations. The UN is challenged to uphold its Charter in the face of all the various anti-democratic pressures the US brings to bear, whether it is spying on UN officials, pressuring independent countries economically and politically, or threatening the UN itself with economic sanctions. The UN must defend its founding principles despite these pressures and the global community must be ready to increase economic and diplomatic support for the UN and UNESCO.

One of the great advancements of civilization has been the development of the concept of the rule of law, that human beings have universal rights, and that there should be international institutions that work to safeguard these rights, especially in times of conflict and military occupation. The principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, and other laws lay out this framework. The challenge for the UN is not to develop new laws or to express new sentiments, but to implement these existing universal principles and its existing resolutions to protect Palestinian human rights. The whole concept of universal rights and protection of civilians is endangered when powerful nations can pick and chose, in defiance of international bodies and global opinion, to whom these laws apply and for whom they are ignored. The law should be universal.

So far, the UN and other established institutions have failed to implement these universal principles, and have been unable to hold the powerful accountable for their oppression of the weak. So it has become necessary for global civil society to step into the void. This is what is happening around the world, including in the United States, on behalf of Palestinian human rights. This is why there is a growing movement of boycott, divestment, and sanctions to bring non-violent pressure on the State of Israel to end its systematic violations.

The Russell Tribunal is yet another expression of global civil society responding to the failure of the UN and governments to uphold the law. One of Bertrand Russell's last accomplishments was the establishment, with French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, of the Russell Tribunal to investigate the role of the United States in the war in Vietnam. The tribunal was established as a means for civil society to bring to the light the evidence of war crimes ignored by the United States government and by other nations and international institutions. Russell declared “May this Tribunal prevent the crime of silence.”

A new Russell Tribunal on Palestine has been reconvened with three sessions to date to examine Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. The most recent session was held November of this year in South Africa, with judges including Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire, emeritus judge of Spain’s Supreme Court José Antonio Martin Pallin, African-American poet Alice Walker and South African writer and activist Ronald Kasrils.  They examined the question of whether Israel is engaged in the crime of Apartheid. Israeli human rights activist Jeff Halper, director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions said,

“States, along with the United Nations, are obligated to enforce international law and human rights conventions. When they don't, as in their failure to apply to Israel and its Occupation the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, the people themselves must rise up and demand that they do. Civil society forums such as the Russell Tribunal may not carry formal authority, but they represent millions of people the world over who believe that simply leaving governments free to pursue their narrow agendas driven by power, sectarian ideology, militarism and the profits of a few is to doom us all to continued war, bloodshed and injustice.”

The Tribunal concluded that Israel does indeed engage in the crime of Apartheid:

"Israel subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalized regime of domination amounting to apartheid as defined under international law.... The Palestinians living under colonial military rule in the occupied Palestinian territory are subject to a particularly aggravated form of apartheid. Palestinian citizens of Israel, while entitled to vote, are not part of the Jewish nation as defined by Israeli law and are therefore excluded from the benefits of Jewish nationality and subject to systematic discrimination across the broad spectrum of recognized human rights. Irrespective of such differences, the Tribunal concludes that Israel's rule over the Palestinian people, wherever they reside, collectively amounts to a single integrated regime of apartheid."

The Russell Tribunal is not the first time Israeli apartheid has been identified. In 1961 Hendrik Verwoerd, then president of South Africa and considered the architect of the system of apartheid, stated, “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” Both Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela have expressed concerns that Israel's behavior was similar to what they experienced under South African apartheid. Mandela remarked that:

“The UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

In 2009, the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa issued a report concluding that Israel practices both Apartheid and colonialism. In 2010, Henry Siegman, former national director of the American Jewish Congress said, "Israel has crossed the threshold from 'the only democracy in the Middle East' to the only apartheid regime in the Western world."  Now in 2011, we can add the conclusions of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Palestinian rights must no longer be held hostage to the domestic politics of the United States. Israel should not escape UN censure simply because it refuses to cooperate with international institutions. International law demands condemnation of Israel's violations and crucially, Your Excellencies, decisive action to reverse them. Palestinian dignity is assaulted on a daily basis. Both the Palestinian and Israeli people are diminished each passing day as you allow these Israeli policies to continue. Every day, a tree is destroyed or a home is demolished. Every day, a Bedouin village inside Israel is ground down by bulldozers or Palestinians in the West Bank are attacked by settler pogroms that turn their lives into lives of fear.  Every day, critical medicines go lacking in Gaza, and Gazans are forced to drink brackish water unfit for human consumption.

The so-called “Quartet” has failed.  But while many question whether the UN should have ever agreed to participate in such sham diplomacy, you can still play a constructive role by moving quickly to implement the necessary pre-conditions for serious and honest negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians based on the enforcement of international law. Excellencies, you must separate Israel’s legitimate security concerns from its illegitimate political agenda. The International Court of Justice ruling on the illegality of Israel's wall made just this sort of distinction: determining that Israel may build its wall on Israeli land, but Israel cannot build its wall on Palestinian land, destroying Palestinian farms and homes, and separating Palestinian villages and towns from each other. It is illegal, not simply “unhelpful,” for Israel to build settlements on Palestinian lands. Israel violates international law when it imposes collective punishment on the people of Gaza. UN-based solutions must be found to mitigate all of these issues.  The international community must demand that Israel end its assaults on Gaza that kill and injure civilians, and destroy civilian infrastructure in an endless cycle of  international development assistance repeatedly destroyed by Israel's U.S. supplied bombs and missiles and Israel's U.S. supplied Caterpillar bulldozers. All that is lacking is your will to impose solutions rooted in international law.

One of the great privileges of working within civil society for Palestinian justice is witnessing the coming together of people from many origins working together for justice. In my own small group, we have Jewish Americans, Palestinian Americans, Christians, Muslims, and secular people who recognize in each other our common humanity. This is replicated around the world. We in global civil society seek to rise above narrow national and tribal self interest and truly believe that peace is possible when our common humanity is recognized and justice is implemented. We honor the efforts of those Israelis who recognize that peace for Israel comes through justice for Palestinians, we honor the efforts of activists and UN workers from around the world, many who have risked their comfort and sometimes their lives in the name of justice. Though there are wide ranges of opinion about what the various solutions might be, we are united in the recognition of our common humanity and our dreams of living together, as equals, on this small blue planet.

Thank you.

-- END --

Monday, November 28, 2011

Organize a Film Screening of New Documentary about Israeli Apartheid

In 2006, at the 5th Annual National Organizers’ Conference of the US Campaign, coalition member groups overwhelmingly resolved to adopt the language of apartheid and Jim Crow segregation in describing Israeli policies towards Palestinians. Applying the apartheid framework to analyses of Israeli practices offers a methodical and startling assessment of conditions on the ground in occupied Palestine. The apartheid framework also explicitly highlights Israel’s grave violations of Palestinian human rights and international law.

Palestinian solidarity activists Ana Nogueira and Eron Davidson have produced an important new documentary, “Roadmap to Apartheid,” comparing Israeli policies with those of apartheid-era South Africa. A film tour is being scheduled for 2012 (see below for more info) and we would like to encourage you to consider organizing a screening in conjunction with an anti-apartheid training seminar. For information on how to organize an anti-apartheid training in your community, please see our training curriculum.

Message from Producers of “Roadmap to Apartheid”

The documentary "Roadmap to Apartheid" will be released by New years of 2012. The producers will be touring extensively in 2012. If you are interested in helping build the tour by organizing a screening, or inviting us to speak along with the movie at an event, on campuses, in churches, unions and community centers, please contact us at info@roadmaptoapartheid.org.

Narrated by Alice Walker, Roadmap to Apartheid is promising to be the definitive documentary that compares and contrasts South African apartheid with Israeli policies and practices. We think its going to be an incredibly important and useful tool for Palestine solidarity organizing and education campaigns, helping to spark hot debates, sorely needed honest discussion, and most importantly, action.

In solidarity,
Ana Nogueira
Eron Davidson
Producers, Roadmap to Apartheid
www.roadmaptoapartheid.org

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Urgent: Stop Home Demolitions in Al Hadidiye

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

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

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

Immediately contact your consulate and embassy through our email action!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sen. Wyden should hold Israel to same standard as Bahrain


By Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
The Hill's Congress Blog
30 October, 2011

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is admirably legislating against U.S. arms sales to Bahrain, the autocratic Gulf kingdom which has killed at least 30 protesters during the Arab Spring. To suppress protests, Bahrain has arrested more than 1,600 protesters, has fired 2,500 from their jobs, and is handing down harsh jail terms to medical personnel who treated injured protesters. This brutal repression of Bahraini human rights led Wyden to introduce a resolution to prohibit U.S. weapons sales to Bahrain until it meets stringent human rights criteria, helping to generate enough political pressure so that the Obama Administration has delayed implementation of its shameful decision last month to sell $53 million of weapons to Bahrain.

Ruebner
“Selling weapons to a regime that is violently suppressing peaceful civil dissent and violating human rights is antithetical to our foreign policy goals and the principle of basic rights for all that the U.S. has worked hard to promote,” Wyden argued.

While this principle should apply to all U.S. weapons sales, it should be even more strictly adhered to when U.S. taxpayers are funding weapons sales through military aid. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid, scheduled to receive $30 billion in taxpayer-financed weapons between 2009 and 2018, and also violently suppresses nonviolent Palestinian protest and commits grave human rights violations against Palestinians living under its illegal 44-year military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.

As an example of Israel’s repression of Palestinian nonviolence, in January, Jawaher Abu Rahmah died after inhaling U.S.-supplied tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers in her West Bank village of Bil’in during its weekly protest against Israel’s illegal wall encroaching upon village farmland.  In April 2009, her brother Bassem was also killed after being hit in the chest with a high-velocity tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers. These types of tear gas canisters from Combined Systems, Inc. of Jamestown, PA also have been linked to the killing of Bahraini protesters.



As an example of Israel’s repression of Palestinian nonviolence, in January, Jawaher Abu Rahmah died after inhaling U.S.-supplied tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers in her West Bank village of Bil’in during its weekly protest against Israel’s illegal wall encroaching upon village farmland.  In April 2009, her brother Bassem was also killed after being hit in the chest with a high-velocity tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers. These types of tear gas canisters from Combined Systems, Inc. of Jamestown, PA also have been linked to the killing of Bahraini protesters.



Jawaher and Bassem are two of the more than 3,000 Palestinians civilians who have been killed by Israel since 2000, according to the Israeli organization B’Tselem.  Often Israel kills these Palestinians with some of the more than 670 million weapons U.S. taxpayers have funded for Israel in the same period, according to the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

Given Wyden’s professed commitment to U.S. weapons not being misused to further human rights violations, the Senator should be outraged as well by U.S. military aid to Israel, for which his Oregon constituents are expected to pay more than $285 million between 2009 and 2018.  Yet, instead, Wyden praises Israel as “a stable democracy and a stalwart ally” and keynotes at fundraisers for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an outfit that lobbies for more U.S. aid to Israel to the detriment of unmet needs at home.

Wyden should not hold Israel to a different standard.  If U.S. weapons should not support Bahrain’s human rights abuses, then neither should they support Israel’s denial of Palestinian freedom and self-determination.  


Josh Ruebner is the National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and a former Analyst in Middle East Affairs at Congressional Research Service.

SEE ORIGINAL ARTICLE ON THEHILL.COM >>

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rally and March to the UN, Thursday, September 15th


Palestinians Tell the World:
Sovereignty Means Securing ALL Our Rights!

Palestinians everywhere are mobilizing to remind the world of their right to self-determination. In New York we are marching to the UN because the world’s attention is focused on the vote on Palestine scheduled to take place there.

For over six decades, the UN has approved numerous resolutions promising Palestinians their basic rights, none of which have been implemented. We come to the UN to demand: Sovereignty, Equality, and the Right of Return for Palestinians NOW!

Rally and March to the UN, Thursday, September 15th!
End All US Aid to Israel!
End the Occupation!
Support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions!

4:30 pm: Gather at Times Square
5:30 pm: March to Grand Central and then over to the UN, as we say:
For more information, email palestineun@gmail.com

Sponsored by the Palestine UN Solidarity Coalition

Endorsed by: WESPAC, American Muslims for Palestine, Al-Awda NY, United National Antiwar Coalition, Adalah-NY, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, International Socialist Organization, Middle East Crisis Response, Women in Black Union Square, Women Against Military Madness: Mideast Committee, Minneapolis, Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Minneapolis, Labor for Palestine, New York City Labor Against the War

Monday, July 25, 2011

Video: Josh Ruebner on "Rafah: Crossing Physical and Diplomatic Barriers"

Our National Advocacy Director, Josh Ruebner, participated in the following panel discussion on July 19, 2011, at the Palestine Center (a coalition member of the US Campaign). Following is a 25-minute excerpt showing only Josh's presentation and answers to audience questions. The full-length version is viewable at the Palestine Center.



"Rafah: Crossing Physical and Diplomatic Barriers"
-- with --
Mr. Josh Ruebner
National Advocacy Director, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
-- and --
Mr. Matthew Reynolds
Head Representative, UNRWA, Washington, DC

SEE ORIGINAL POST...

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, June 17, 2011

JVP Rabbinical Council's Brant Rosen on Tamimi case

Jewish Voice for Peace is a US Campaign member group.

More than 5,000 people have contacted the US State Department asking for Naji and Bassem's release: join them!

International residents click here to participate in Popular Struggle's
action alert.

(L to R: Rabbi Brant Rosen, Bassem Tamimi, Ayed Morrar)
Dear Supporter,

I'm writing to ask for your help in getting two Palestinians out of jail. Their only crime is organizing unarmed protests against the occupation. They need your help.

This past December I took a trip to Israel/Palestine with twenty members of my congregation. Among our many stops was a morning visit to a coffee house in Ramallah where we had arranged to meet with Ayed Morrar, a grassroots nonviolent organizer from the West Bank village of Budrus (whose struggle was recently featured in the documentary film of the same name.) When we arrived to meet Ayed, we found that he had brought along a fellow leader in the Palestinian nonviolence movement, Bassem Tamimi, who comes from the village of Nabi Saleh.

With integrity, humor and sense of quiet resolve, Bassem told us the story of his village’s struggle for justice. Since 1977, Nabi Saleh has been besieged by a nearby Jewish settlement which was constructed on land privately owned by Nabi Saleh’s residents. Although an Israeli court awarded some land in Nabi Saleh back to its residents, settlers have been routinely uprooting hundreds of the village’s olive trees and attacking farmers to prevent them from working their land.

In response, Bassem and other villagers organized weekly nonviolent demonstrations, which have been systematically and brutally suppressed by the IDF. The Israeli army has raided the village of 500 residents by day and by night, causing hundreds of injuries and carrying out 75 protest-related arrests. Currently, more than 10% of the village has been arrested, including women and many children.

When we spoke with Bassem last December, he explained that the military was targeting the movement’s leadership. Since demonstrations began, Bassem’s house has been raided and ransacked numerous times, his wife was arrested twice and two of his sons were injured. Wa’ed, 14, was hospitalized for five days after a rubber-coated bullet penetrated his leg and Mohammed, 8, was injured by a tear-gas projectile that was shot directly at him and hit him in the shoulder. It seemed clear to us that his arrest was quite likely, if not imminent.

Last March, we learned the news: three weeks after the arrest of his cousin Naji Tamimi (a fellow member of the Nabi Saleh Popular Committee) Bassem himself was arrested. The arrests of both men were based on confessions from teenagers who were themselves seized in midnight raids, denied legal counsel, and beaten. Help us get them out of prison.

Now that Bassem’s case is coming to trial, I am asking you to stand together with me and thousands of people around the world, to say that no one should be jailed for organizing peaceful protests against the theft of their land. If you believe in grassroots, unarmed organizing against the Israeli occupation, please stand by Bassem and Naji Tamimi.

In solidarity,

Rabbi Brant Rosen
Co-Chair, Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Diana Buttu on President's Speech on Middle East & North Africa

Diana Buttu is a Research Fellow at Harvard University and former adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) who recently lent her support to the US Campaign through a video message that we produced and blogged here. In this installment of Palestine Studies TV, she spoke with Will Youmans about President Obama's May 19, 2011, speech on the Middle East and North Africa. She focused on his remarks pertinent to Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestine Studies TV is a project of the Institute for Palestine Studies.


SEE ORIGINAL...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

“Gaza Blockade Quiz” Draws Attention to Plight of Palestinians

Looking for a way to raise awareness about the siege of Gaza to a new audience?

The Madison Area Peace Coalition did this creative action...

Cinnamon or cumin, chocolate or coffee, fishing line or toilet paper - which of these household items are allowed into Gaza under the Israeli blockade? Shoppers at the Madison, Wisconsin farmers' market were challenged to test their knowledge by taking the “Gaza Blockade Quiz.” Each participant was asked to identify banned items from a table of everyday products.

“This is a real eye-opener,” said one college student. Many contestants stayed after taking the quiz to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Others gathered around to watch the game being played. This provided an opening to ask shoppers how they would get by without fabric or vegetable seeds or toys for their children. Many were shocked by the capricious nature of the Israeli blockade. Not one respondent thought the prohibited items could be legitimately classified as military contraband.

Shoppers who would be hesitant to approach a table full of literature were intrigued by a table of everyday products. The interactive nature of a “quiz” also attracted attention. One unexpected benefit of including toys in the display was that kids flocked to the table, bringing their parents in tow.

Setting up your own Gaza Blockade Quiz is easy. All you need is a card table, a few household items and labels made from note cards. Include a mix of banned and permitted products. The list of banned items is available from Gisha, an Israeli human rights organization (www.gisha.org). Be sure to suggest an action to be taken by contestants. Have them sign a petition to congress or hand out post cards addressed to your senators.

Ordinary Americans have compassion for Palestinians when they identify with their predicament. Nothing provokes the righteous indignation of American consumers like a table of forbidden products!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Israeli Knesset adopts law criminalizing boycott, targeting Palestinian citizens

Who Is Annexing Whom?

By Uri Avnery
March 27, 2011

In a rare late-night session, the Knesset has finally adopted two obnoxious racist laws. Both are clearly directed against Israel’s Arab citizens, a fifth of the population.

The first makes it possible to annul the citizenship of persons found guilty of offences against the security of the state. Israel prides itself on having a great variety of such laws. Annulling citizenship on such grounds is contrary to international law and conventions.

The second is more sophisticated. It allows communities of less than 400 families to appoint "admission committees" which can prevent unsuitable persons from living there. Very shrewdly, it specifically forbids the rejection of candidates because of race, religion etc. - but that paragraph is tantamount to a wink. An Arab applicant will simply be rejected because of his many children or lack of military service.

...

But far worse is a third law that is certain to pass its final stages within a few weeks: the law to outlaw the boycott of the settlements.

...

As it stands now, the law will punish any person or association publicly calling for a boycott of Israel - economic, academic or cultural. "Israel", according to this law, means any Israeli enterprise or person, in Israel or in any territory controlled by Israel. Simply put: it is all about the settlements. And not only about the boycott of the products of the settlements, which was initiated by Gush Shalom some 13 years ago, but also about the recent refusal of actors to perform in the settlement of Ariel and the call by academics not to support the so-called University Center there. It also applies, of course, to any call for the boycott of an Israeli university or an Israeli commercial enterprise.

This is a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation: it is anti-democratic, discriminatory, annexationist, and altogether unconstitutional.

ARTICLE CONTINUES...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Israel to deport...well...just about the entire West Bank, apparently

In the most recent round of Kafka-esque absurdity from the U.S.-funded Israeli military, new military orders would allow the occupying army to deport anyone in the West Bank without an army-granted permit--which could include just about anyone. Al Jazeera reports: According to an editorial in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, "The order's vague language will allow army officers to exploit it arbitrarily to carry out mass expulsions, in accordance with military orders which were issued under unclear circumstances....This would be a grave and dangerous move, unprecedented during the Israeli occupation." And The Guardian reports on efforts by Israeli human rights groups to combat this order:
"Israel's leading human rights groups are trying to stop two new Israeli military orders which will make any resident of the occupied West Bank who does not have an Israeli-issued permit liable for deportation or jail.

The new Order Regarding Prevention of Infiltration and Order Regarding Security Provisions, which comes into force on Tuesday have "severe ramifications," the rights groups say. Palestinians, and any foreigners living in the West Bank, could be labelled infiltrators and deported within 72 hours or jailed for seven years if they are found without the correct permit. It does not define what Israel considers a valid permit.

"The orders … are worded so broadly such as theoretically allowing the military to empty the West Bank of almost all its Palestinian inhabitants," said the 10 rights groups, which include Ha-Moked, B'Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and Rabbis for Human Rights. Until now the vast majority of Palestinians in the West Bank have not been required to hold a permit just to be present in their homes, the groups say."

Meanwhile, deported American journalist Jared Malsin writes at Huffington Post that the recent Anat Kam/Uri Blau cover-up scandal, which involves an expose of Israeli assassination orders that violated even the country's own laws (much less international law regarding extrajudicial assassination), is the latest front in Israel's "crisis of legitimacy." Crisis of legitimacy, indeed. Racist permit systems. Arbitrary deportation. Extrajudicial assassinations. There is nothing legitimate about any of it. Find out how much money you and your community are spending to support this sort of absurdity, and what you can do to stop it, at AidtoIsrael.org