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Denver Photo Essay: Our Banner Got Stolen, Bumping into Spike Lee, & Other Stories from the DNC

August 30th, 2008

Activities during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Denver this week were non-stop and frenetic—and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation was in the thick of it all thanks to your generous support!

US Campaign DNC headquarters at Progressive Central.
On Monday, we set up our DNC headquarters at Progressive Central, a five-day forum sponsored by our friends at Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) and The Nation. While we were there, we had hundreds of substantive discussions with Members of Congress, Congressional candidates, leaders of local party committees, and delegates to the convention—exactly the type of people who we need to educate in order to change policy.

Almost everyone with whom we talked responded positively and enthusiastically to our campaign to challenge military aid to Israel, a theme which fits in nicely with PDA’s motto “Healthcare Not Warfare”.

In the evening, we tabled with Friends of Sabeel—Colorado, one of the more than 255 member organizations of the US Campaign, at a panel discussion sponsored by Just Foreign Policy. Check out the nice shout-out we got from Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator of United for Peace and Justice, plugging our work on a future broadcast of Free Speech TV.

The empty railing was where the US Campaign had hung its banner.
On Tuesday, we returned to our headquarters at Progressive Central only to notice that someone had stolen our banner! Either someone really liked our message and wanted to spread it or, more likely, wasn’t too pleased to see us with such a big presence in Denver and trashed it.

Never mind that—the theft of our banner didn’t stop us from distributing 1000’s of postcards calling for the United States to cut off military aid to Israel. Our volunteer teams got postcards in the hands of DNC delegates, Congressional candidates, Members of Congress, and even celebrities.One of our volunteers bumped into filmmaker Spike Lee on the streets of Denver and handed him a postcard, which he read intently and then stuck in his pocket.

Hanging out with Rep. Dennis Kucinich.
Tuesday evening we partied with a purpose. First, we attended a political action committee (PAC) reception and spoke with several Members of Congress and half a dozen Congressional candidates. All of them received our postcards and primers written by our very own Steering Committee member Phyllis Bennis. Some of them even asked us to be in touch with them so that we could discuss our concerns more in depth.

From there, we headed to a late-night reception hosted by Rep. Dennis Kucinich who spoke to a standing-room only audience at a bar. In response to a question from an audience member, Rep. Kucinich reiterated his strong support for a balanced U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine and for Palestinian human rights. Afterwards, we made sure to thank him personally for his dedication and courage.

"Free Palestine--End the Occupation" rally in Civic Center Park.
Wednesday featured a “Free Palestine—End the Occupation” rally in Civic Center Park, organized by Friends of Sabeel-Colorado and cosponsored by the US Campaign. There we talked to the media and distributed information to the thousands of passersby.

In the evening, we tabled at a panel discussion on corporate power.Check out the shout-out from former presidential candidate David Cobb plugging the work of the US Campaign in general and our corporate accountability campaigns against Motorola and Caterpillar in particular on a future broadcast of Free Speech TV.

Leafletting at Invesco Field at Mile High.
On Thursday, we wound down our table at Progressive Central and headed out to distribute information to the tens of thousands of people who lined up to get inside Invesco Field to watch Sen. Barack Obama accept his party’s nomination for president. People who stood in line for hours under the blazing sun were glad to have some information to read to take their minds off of the heat and many thanked us for our work.

Watching Obama's speech at the Denver airport.
Sitting in the Denver airport watching Sen. Obama deliver his acceptance speech, it is hard to convey how proud I feel about the great work that we accomplished this week during the DNC thanks to our supporters who donated generously to make our presence possible and our tireless volunteers who handled the on-the-ground logistics so ably and who gave so freely of their time and hospitality.

After working with the US Campaign for more than five years to change our country’s policy toward Palestine/Israel to support human rights, international law, and equality for all, I can’t tell you how gratifying it was to hear Members of Congress this week thank us for the work that we’re doing, agree with us that flooding Israel with $30 billion in additional weapons won’t bring peace, and ask for more information from us!

We can take a great deal of satisfaction from the fact that our work has thoroughly penetrated not only the consciousness of rank-and-file political activists, but is beginning to get through to decision-makers as well. No doubt that we are on the right path toward changing our country’s policy!

But enough of patting ourselves on the back—we’ve got a lot more to do and we need your support to do it. Please make your generous tax-deductible contribution today so that we can continue our non-partisan educational work at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in St. Paul next week by clicking here.

PS—Don’t forget that our banner got stolen in Denver. Make your generous tax-deductible contribution today so that we can print an even bigger and better banner and show whoever stole it that the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation isn’t going away! Make your contribution by clicking here.

PPS—If you’d like to help us duplicate our DNC efforts during the RNC in St. Paul, please contact National Organizer Katherine Fuchs at organizer@endtheoccupation.org or 202-332-0994 to get involved.

In solidarity,

Josh Ruebner
National Advocacy Director

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation