This update covers national mobilization proposals (which needs your
feedback), resources and new materials, and recent activities.
But first, a big welcome to the organizations that have recently joined
the US Campaign: End the Occupation Coalition/DuPage; Jewish Voice
for Peace, Inc.; and Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel.
Welcome also to all the individuals who have signed on. You have joined
a growing movement of US citizens who are pooling their efforts to
end the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
NATIONAL MOBILIZATION PROPOSALS: WE NEED YOUR FEEDBACK!
US Campaign members have come up with ideas for immediate actions
in November and December--more on that in a couple of days.
In addition, three ideas were put forward for a year-long nationwide
campaign to hold the US accountable for just Palestinian-Israeli peace
and to end US support to occupation. Which of the three ideas do you
and your group think would be most effective as a nationwide campaign
in terms of impact on US policy? Which would you and your group be
prepared to support in addition to your own actions for just peace?
The three proposals are:
The US Campaign would organize a divestment project for one year targeting
city councils and State governments that have financial or social
ties to Israel. US Campaign volunteers would help research the investments
in Israel of different local and state governments. This proposal
has one unique advantage: it ties in with the campus divestment movement,
which is gaining steam. Students and alumni could be interested in
this kind of campaign. The other advantages are not unique; they apply
to any proposal that emphasizes a local grassroots organizing approach.
The campaign can be done anywhere in the country, and it forces us
to organize locally: neighborhood by neighborhood. If the city/state
divestment campaign takes off, it will build a grassroots base--a
prerequisite to any comprehensive social change coming from the progressive
In the anti-apartheid divestment campaign one powerful educational
tool was a campaign against Polaroid as makers of pass photos. In
the same way, this campaign would select one or two consumer products
(e.g. Burger King, Home Depot, Starbucks, or other US firms that do
business illegally in the settlements) as a focal point for pressure
to stop doing business in settlements. The boycott would involve leafleting
and vigils outside local stores (several Israeli peace groups have
settlement shopping guides that list products and companies that do
business in settlements which we could distribute). It could also
involve religious congregations, community organizations, even city
councils passing resolutions that they would not purchase products
from such companies until they withdraw all business from settlements
and publicly declare this. Products that are used on campuses (e.g.
Burger King, Starbucks) would be especially vulnerable ones to pressure
if universities also joined in the boycott. The key would be to identify
the best symbolic and consumer sensitive product. It could be coordinated
with corporate advocacy work that focuses more on Caterpillar and
military contractors, which are not so consumer responsive.
Today each person in the US contributes roughly $12 -$25/year to maintaining
the Israeli occupation ($3-6 billion/year in US foreign aid to Israel
divided by 280 million US population). An Act of Solidarity campaign
would have two goals: 1) educational advocacy around the impact of
occupation in daily Palestinian life; 2) raising material support
for Palestine as means of pressuring Congress to change its policies
on aid to Israel and aid to Palestine. The Act of Solidarity (which
could be linked to civil disobedience, withholding taxes, etc.) would
involve individuals, religious congregations, community organizations
pledging to provide at least matching amount (i.e., $12-25/year per
person) to Palestine and/or Palestine solidarity groups here in the
US to offset US aid to Israel’s occupation. At the same time,
those who pledge solidarity would send messages to Senators, representatives
and US administration officials (White House, State Dept., USAID)
that we demand the US to stop paying for occupation and we commit
to support full human rights and self-determination for Palestine.
This could be linked to other initiatives aimed at Congress, eg. the
US Campaign's National Pledge for Peace. Please vote for 1 of the
3. Send in your vote and comments to email@example.com.
NEW RESOURCE MATERIALS
The Trans-Arab Research Institute (TARI), which many of you may know
from its work in organizing the right of return conference in Boston
in April 2000, has just produced an excellent primer "Understanding
the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict,” written by Phyllis Bennis.
If your friends have ever asked "Why is there so much violence
in the Middle East?" or "What caused the current crisis?"
or "Why is the current level of violence so intense?"--this
book is for them!
TARI, which is an endorsing organization of the US Campaign, is making
free copies available to Campaign members. However, you will have
to cover the cost of postage, by sending $2 per copy payable to TARI.
Please send your orders to: M. Igram,
228 Central St., Lowell, MA 01852. Please make sure to identify yourself
as a member of the US Campaign to get this offer.
A. "Jews, Israel, and the United
States: Talking Points for Jewish Activism" by Rachael Kamel
Available online at http://www.endtheoccupation.org/resources/news_articles/kamal.html.
Rachael is a founding member of Jewish Mobilization for a Just Peace
in Philadelphia and an activist with the US Campaign. Contact her
B. Fact Sheets
As we announced earlier this month, we've posted two US Campaign fact
sheets as PDFs for easy downloading from the web: "Palestine
and the Palestinians," and "Ending
the Occupation: It's the Law."
We have posted several recent articles on our website which we think
will be of use in organizing work.
"Do I Divest?" by Archbishop Desmond Tutu makes the
case for divestment.
2. Five additional articles deal
with the threat of the "transfer" of the Palestinians from
the occupied territories under cover of a war against Iraq:
and Peace: Iraq and the Israeli Occupation—Hanan Ashrawi
The '48 Nakba
and the Zionist Quest for Its Completion—Ilan Pappe
Remapping the Middle
East: Whose War Is It This Time—Naseer Aruri
Of War and Population
Israel May "Transfer"
Palestinians During the War on Iraq—Will Youmans
3. A piece by Jonathan
Steele in The Guardian on the Israeli army's refuseniks challenge
to the legality of the occupation. This article has some very useful
quotes for use by those who do public speaking on the issue. Not
in Our Name is a good contact point here in the US for the refuseniks.
You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have printed many “About the Campaign” flyers. While
we do not have the resources to mail individual copies, you can download
a PDF of the flyer from our website here.
If you would like to place a bulk order (50 copies or more) for your
organizing efforts and to encourage people and groups to join the
Campaign, please email us at email@example.com
and we will get them out to you as soon as possible.
To "knit" the nationwide movement against occupation, the
Campaign is working on two resources:
1. A map of US organizations active
against the occupation so that members can get a sense of who’s
doing what and team up with like-minded organizations.
2. An email newsletter of actions
planned and resources produced by organizations linked to the US Campaign
(and other US-based groups). Several people responded to the Campaign
Call for Volunteers earlier in October--thank you! They will be working
on these two resources with Nancy Murray, who is handling Constituency
Outreach on the Campaign Steering Committee and web coordinator Geoff
Hartman. You’ll be hearing from both of them in the days ahead.
Hundreds of people turned out during the speaking tour organized this
month by the American Friends Service Committee, an endorsing organization
of the US Campaign. Jean Zaru and Kathy Bergen spoke about “Hope
in the Midst of Suffering: Responding to the Crisis.” The tour
was designed to inform people about the daily life of Palestinians
living under Israeli military occupation, how US policy contributes
to the continuing occupation, and what people in the US can do in
response to the ongoing occupation. Jean and Kathy spoke in Portland,
San Francisco, Pasadena, Phoenix, and Tucson. They addressed US policy
and took the opportunity to distribute Campaign flyers and fact sheets.
The Steering Committee US
Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation