US CAMPAIGN TO END THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION

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CAMPAIGN UPDATE
6/12/02

Dear friends,

Greetings from the steering committee of the U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation. Many of you were with us in Chicago 1-2 June for the Campaign's first national organizers conference. Others will be hearing reports and news about the conference now for the first time.

We also have important and exciting developments to report—our new website, a growing Campaign staff and leadership structure, and most important of all, several new and already active Task Forces to involve signatories and supporters around the country in the on-going work of the Campaign. The full conference report is being drafted, and will be sent out within the next two weeks. A few highlights of the conference, especially for those who were not able to be in Chicago—an extraordinary opening presentation by the renowned African scholar Mahmood Mamdani who got us focused for our work on Saturday morning; a penetrating range of discussions that night on the origins, goals and progress of the Campaign so far; and a set of energized and interactive workshops Sunday morning that led to the creation of three new national Task Forces for the Campaign's work.

For those of you who were at the conference, please remember to send in any ideas or assessments of the structure or task force proposals before June 15th.

The Task Forces include:

1) Corporate campaigns—this group will focus on issues of U.S. military aid to Israel, targetting initially Caterpillar, whose armored bulldozers have played a key role in destroying Palestinian homes and in the recent re-occupations of Palestinian towns, cities and refugee camps, and Lockheed-Martin, maker of the F-16 fighter jet and other weapons classics . Their work will include exposes, shareholder education, building alliances with other anti-corporate campaigners, etc.

2) Congress/Administration—this Task Force will work on expanding a national network of contacts based on congressional districts. They will combine local mobilizations aimed at influencing local members of Congress, with national campaigns aimed at administration policies. Their work will focus initially on challenging U.S. military aid to Israel, and challenging the pattern of U.S. vetoes preventing international protection for the Palestinians. A Washington DC-based team is putting together a national congressional center to link through the Campaign website to local congressional district contacts.

3) National mobilizations—this group will develop plans for unified national actions linking the Campaign's local groups and individuals. Possibilities include parallel local demonstrations, joint petition campaigns, coordinated phone-in or email campaigns. Their work focus will include military aid and international protection.

4) Outreach—this Task Force was already in formation even before Chicago. It will begin the work of expanding our outreach to the first two priority constituencies we have identified, the African-American community and faith-based organizations.

Besides the Task Forces, the Campaign now has on-going committees taking responsibility for Web coordination, Fundraising, Media monitoring and Resources.

The Campaign's terrific new website is up and running, with DC-based graphic designer Geoff Hartman in charge of web production and the Campaign's new listserv for quick information, action alerts and more. Sign on the listserv at http://www.endtheoccupation.org/subscribe.html.

The Campaign leadership is being consolidated following structure discussions at the Chicago conference. The Steering Committee is being expanded to include the coordinators of each Task Force as well as the Campaign webmaster and director.

And speaking of which, the Steering Committee is delighted that Doug Hostetter, longtime peace and justice activist, has agreed to come on board as director of the Campaign, working out of Chicago. He will initially work on a part-time basis, but we hope rapid expansion of the Campaign (including expansion of our funding base!) will allow him to take over more areas of coordinating work. Doug will serve as a political center and part of the steering committee, and will be in charge of liaison with Task Force coordinators, communicating with Campaign signatories and supporters, outreach, fundraising and administration.

The Campaign's NEW ADDRESS is:

U.S. Campaign
PO Box 6505
Evanston IL 60204

The Campaign phone number remains the same: (212) 330-9293

The Campaign email address is: us_campaign@endtheoccupation.org

For those of you who have not signed on as official signatories of the U.S. Campaign, please do so as soon as you can. The Call to Action that serves as the basis of the Campaign is attached, and you can print it out and send it (to the POB) with your suggested minimum contribution of $20 for individuals, $40 for organizational signatories. And please include your congressional district so we can begin mapping where the Campaign is based.

Within the next couple of weeks, as part of the Conference report, we will provide names and contact information for the coordinators of each Task Force, so you can contact them directly to join their work. In the meantime, please feel free to contact Doug Hostetter at <director@endtheoccupation.org> for additional information about the Task Forces or work committees.

Congratulations to everybody for successful steps towards building our Campaign.

All the best,
U.S. Campaign Steering Committee

Naseer Aruri
Phyllis Bennis
Kathy Bergen
Nadia Hijab
Roger Normand
Edward W. Said
Zoharah Simmons
David Wildman