Showing posts with label open letter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label open letter. Show all posts

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, September 15, 2011

An Open Letter from Gaza to Julio Iglesias: Don’t Entertain Apartheid Again!


The following is an excerpt from an open letter composed by the One State Democratic Group urging performer Julio Iglesias to heed the call for a cultural boycott of Israel.
Besieged Gaza,
Occupied Palestine,
13.9.2011
Dear Julio Iglesias,
We, youth and students of the Gaza Ghetto, entrenched and surrounded by Israeli Gunships, Snipers, Jeeps, F16s and Merkava tanks at every turn, are saddened to see that once again, you will entertain an apartheid regime, and ignore the horrors Israel is inflicting on us.
This is not the first time an oppressed group has called on you to heed calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions of apartheid.
Those in the South African apartheid liberation struggle described you then as one to, “have chosen to make profit in a land of exploitation and misery instead of taking a stand on principle and foregoing blood money.”[1]

You performed twice in the infamous Sun City of South Africa in 1983 and 1984. Your claims to have had “a child with a colored woman" and to "sing duet with Diana Ross who is colored"[2] were unacceptable excuses and no similar excuses will see us Palestinians forget your turning your back on our call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of apartheid Israel. By performing in Israel you directly contravene the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) [3], that has been heeded by international artists and writers such as Elvis Costello, the Pixies, Carlos Santana, Annie Lennox, Gorillaz, John Berger, Adrienne Rich, Massive Attack, Faithless, Gill Scot-Heron, Devendra Banart, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Meg Ryan, Arundati Roy and many others, who have put equality, anti-racism and the will of the oppressed against the appearance money and adulation. Adulation from, in this case, many young people who have served in the Israeli Occupation Forces that occupy and control us and our land, bomb our  villages and destroy or steal our houses, olive groves and—more importantly—our human dignity.

CONTINUE READING HERE

Friday, August 5, 2011

Media Release: 125+ Groups & 25,000+ Individuals: "Don't Veto Palestinian UN Membership"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2011

Washington, DC -- The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation delivered today to the State Department an open letter signed by more than 125 groups, including 30 national organizations, and petitions signed by more than 25,000 people urging the Obama Administration not to veto Palestinian UN membership if the issue arises in the Security Council.

National organizations Code Pink, Grassroots International, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Just Foreign Policy contributed petition signatures to the overall count. 

The open letter reads in part:

"Palestinians have been prevented from exercising their rights to freedom and self-determination on even a portion of their historic homeland due to Israel's historic and ongoing policies of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, military occupation, and colonization... Palestinians have waited more than 63 years for their human rights. We urge you—do not set a timetable for Palestinian freedom by vetoing Palestinian membership in the United Nations."

Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign, stated that:

"The American people are ahead of the administration in recognizing that our policy towards the region has failed. Even though the State Department has been unwilling to meet with us yet, we have made clear to the Obama Administration that thousands of people across this country, and a diverse and growing coalition of organizations representing hundreds of thousands more will continue to organize until we end unconditional U.S. support for Israel's illegal military occupation and apartheid policies toward Palestinians. Through our efforts, the U.S. government will realize what so many people already know: that the way to achieve a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace is to base our country's policies on human rights, international law, and equality, and not to deny Palestinians freedom and self-determination."

Other national organizations endorsing the open letter include: the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, American Educational Trust, American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine, American Jews for a Just Peace, American Muslims for Palestine, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine-Israel Network, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Friends of Sabeel—North America ,Global Exchange, Interfaith Peace-Builders, Intersect Worldwide, Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church, (U.S.A.), Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)—USA, Middle East Children's Alliance, Paulist Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, Peace Action, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship,  Progressive Democrats of America, Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice , Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, United for Peace and Justice,  United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, U.S. Peace Council, and War Resisters League.

For the complete text of the open letter and the complete list of organizational endorsements, click here.

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is a national coalition of more than 350 organizations working to change U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel to support human rights, international law, and equality. For more information see www.endtheoccupation.org.

###

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thank Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for Slam-Dunking Israeli Apartheid!

Two months ago, YNet News reported that legendary basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was planning to visit Israel in coordination with the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Consulate of New York. NBA Sporting News reported that Abdul-Jabbar would be competing for the "Spirit of Freedom Award" at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

In private correspondence, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has confirmed that the former Los Angeles Lakers star has decided not to visit Israel, due to concerns arising "after the Nakba Day violence." This year's commemoration of the Nakba left 12 unarmed Palestinians dead after Israeli forces opened fire on refugees attempting to exercise their internationally recognized right of return.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, thank you for calling Israel's foul! Israeli cultural institutions like the Jerusalem Film Festival are used cynically to brand Israel as a beacon of cultural and technological progress, diverting attention away from its occupation and apartheid policies. For this reason, cultural boycott of Israel is a key component of the growing Palestinian-led movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law. You can read the Palestinian guidelines for cultural boycott here.

101 organizations have signed a thank-you letter to Abdul-Jabbar, urging him to hold fast to his decision not to let his good name lend an air of legitimacy to Israeli human rights violations. In addition to the US Campaign, signatories include the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (Israel), the Organization for Black Struggle, six Islamic-American organizations, four Jewish organizations, 14 campus groups, and dozens of other US Campaign member organizations.

The letter points out to Abdul-Jabbar:
Your film, "On the Shoulders of Giants," documents the policies of segregation and racism that characterized the world of basketball in the 1930s. Ironically, the majority of Muslim and Christian Palestinians could not even have attended such a screening because they are excluded from entering Jerusalem on the basis of their ethnicity and religion.

Join 101 organizations in showing support for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's decision and urging him to consider the Palestinian call for BDS!

Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman similarly declined an invitation to the Jerusalem Film Festival last year following the deadly attacks on the first Gaza Freedom Flotilla. The second Freedom Flotilla is set to sail to Gaza this month.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Land Day 2011: Join the international campaign to Stop the Jewish National Fund

Stop the JNF Campaign announcement
30 March 2011

"Commemorating the Palestinian Land Day and the Global BDS Day of Action, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC)… calls on people of conscience around the world to take civil and legal steps to oppose the presence and activities of the JNF in their countries due to its long-standing and intricate role in crimes of colonization, ethnic cleansing and apartheid against the Palestinian people. As a key pillar in Israel’s system of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid, the JNF should lose its charitable status anywhere; it should also be comprehensively boycotted by international civil society and by governments that consistently uphold the primacy of international law."  (Click here to read the full statement.)

Join the Campaign!

The JNF continues to serve as a global fundraiser for Israeli ethnic cleansing, occupation and apartheid. The JNF and its affiliate organizations enjoy charitable status in over 50 countries. Join us in revoking the charity status of the Jewish National Fund.

Take Action:
  • Sign the Stop the JNF call for action
  • Include the JNF in your BDS and Palestine solidarity work
  • Sign the letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) challenging the JNF's tax-exempt status in the United States
  • Organize the Stop the JNF campaign in your city or region
  • Tell us about your activity at info@stopthejnf.org
Upcoming dates
  • April 18  Tax Day in the United States - visit post offices and invite tax payers to send a postcard to the IRS calling for an investigation into the activities of the JNF
  • May 15  Release of an e-book on Environmental Racism, the JNF and Israel AND the launch of a Plant-a-Tree in Palestine project
  • June 5  Coordinated action in solidarity with the people of Beit Nuba, Imwas and Yalu, the villages that existed where the JNF-built Canada Park now lies. Read the call for action.
Spread the word

Click here to download the Stop the JNF Campaign fact sheet, presentation materials and a poster.

Contact us

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jimmy Carter questions military aid to Israel. He's not alone.

Former President Jimmy Carter visited Gaza for the first time since the massive destruction wrought by the December-January Israeli military assault, and was shocked by what he saw. President Carter reacted to conditions in Gaza, stating at one point that "the citizens of Palestine are treated more like animals than like human beings."He also commented on U.S. military aid being used to destroy U.S.-taxpayer funded institutions:
"It’s very distressing to me. I have to hold back tears when I see the deliberate destruction that has been wracked against your people. I come here to the American school, which was educating your children, supported by my own country, and I see that it’s been deliberately destroyed by bombs from F-16s made in my country and delivered to the Israelis."
President Carter isn't the only one who's been noticing the incongruity of $3 billion in military aid to Israel being used to destroy homes and schools and subsidizing the Israeli settlements that are supposedly opposed by the United States. Writing at the Huffington Post, Stephen Zunes describes the connection between U.S. aid to Israel and settlement growth in great detail:
"With the right-wing Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu categorically rejecting the idea of a freeze and with Democratic-controlled Congress ruling out using the billions of dollars of U.S. military aid to Israel as leverage, the situation remains deadlocked....uch direct subsidies for Israeli settlements placed the United States in violation of Article 7 of U.N. Security Council Resolution 465, which prohibits member states from assisting Israel in its colonization drive. So, not only has the United States allowed Israel to violate U.N. Security Council resolutions in continuing to maintain and expand its illegal settlements, Clinton placed the United States itself in violation of a U.N. Security Council mandate as well."
US Campaign Steering Committee member Phyllis Bennis, in a response to Netanyahu's June 14 speech, argues that the "ball remains in Obama's court":
"Without concrete consequences for Tel Aviv's noncompliance —such as withholding all or part of the $3 billion annual U.S. military aid to Israel, or withdrawing the U.S. diplomatic protection that keeps Israel from being held accountable in the UN Security Council — Obama's demands for a settlement freeze or anything else will have little impact."
And Philip Weiss calls U.S. opposition to settlements "toothless" without the cutting or conditioning of military aid to Israel. We agree. That's why we've asked you to help the U.S. government oppose settlements by ending or conditioning military aid to Israel. It's not too late to add your name by clicking here! The letter, which can be read in full here, argues that military aid to Israel should at the very least be conditioned on Israel’s “progress toward achieving the President’s stated goals of ending the siege of the Gaza Strip, ending all settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and engaging in a credible negotiating process that results in a just and lasting peace.” View the full media release about the letter by clicking here.