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Occupation End Notes | September 4, 2009 Volume 7 Number 15

It's almost here: the US Campaign's 8th Annual National Organizers' Conference is only one week away!

Check out our website for important updates on the conference, including proposals to be voted on by member groups, new information about the "Speaking Out" fundraiser the night of September 12, Steering Committee nomination form, and more. Click here to find out more.

Remember, US Campaign member groups in good standing are able to send voting delegates to the conference to decide on the direction that the US Campaign will take and the tactics we will employ over the coming year. Click here to find out if your organization is in good standing. If not, make sure to pay your dues. If your organization isn't part of the US Campaign, click here to join, or click here for tips on how to start your own organization and join the movement!

We hope you enjoy this week's Occupation End Notes. Check the sidebar to the right for links to our updated resources on our website, and remember to keep up with US Campaign news on a daily basis on our website, Blog, and Facebook and Twitter feeds. As always, in order for this newsletter to be a success, we need your help. Have an event you want to publicize? Add to our Member Group Calendar by clicking here. Have a resource or a victory that you want shared? Email us by clicking here.

Peace and solidarity,

US Campaign National Staff

US Campaign in the News

Member Group Activities

Share an Event

Challenging U.S. Policy

Standing Against Apartheid

Boycott & Divestment

Apartheid in the News

BDS in the News

Delegations to Israel/Palestine

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Table of Contents:

1) You're Invited to "Speaking Out"

2) New Material on US Campaign Blog

3) BDS Debate Explodes on Both Sides of the Atlantic

4) Apartheid, Apartheid, Everywhere -- and Not a Sanction in Sight

5) Welcome New Member Groups to the US Campaign

6) Jewish Voice for Peace and CODEPINK Announce "Why We Refuse" Tour Dates

7) Skip Schiel Southeast Speaking Tour

8) Friends of Sabeel Conferences in DC and Iowa

9) AAPER Freedom Walks

10) Visit Israel/Palestine for Solidarity and Education

11) Help Sustain the US Campaign

* Speaking Out: Rashid Khalidi, Omar Barghouti, and Chicago and DC Spoken Word Artists at National Conference

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is excited to invite you to Speaking Out, a night of solidarity and entertainment to benefit the work of the US Campaign, Saturday, September 12! We are honored to welcome the Director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, Professor Rashid Khalidi and Omar Barghouti, Palestinian political commentator and human rights activist, as our keynote speakers on issues of Policy and Boycott and Divestment. Between the keynote addresses, renowned DC spoken word artist, Tala Abu Rahmeh, will delight us with her thought-provoking poetry.  The US Campaign is also delighted to announce our program will include a special message from Fr. Miguel d'Escoto, President of the United Nations General Assembly, on the last night of his term of office.  Father Miguel has raised his voice and used this platform to defend human rights and international law in Palestine, and played a particularly important role during the tumultuous United Nations debates over the Israeli assault on Gaza at the beginning of this year. Dinner is included and will be traditional Middle Eastern fare.

The event will take place at First United Methodist Church, Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602. "Speaking Out" is cosponsored by AFSC - Chicago and JVP -Chicago.

If you have already registered and paid for the 8th Annual National Organizers' Conference, your ticket for this event has been factored into the price of registration.

If you are not coming to our conference, but want to attend this evening, tickets can be purchased here for $35. Seats are limited so get your tickets today!

To find out more details about the conference and make sure that your organization is in good standing with the US Campaign, click

What Do Roger Waters, Katherine Fuchs, Naomi Klein, and Lev Leviev Have in Common? Why, the US Campaign Blog, Of Course!

Looking for news, updates, analysis, video, and more unique content? Look no further than the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation's blog! New on the blog this week: Lev Leviev's financial follies; Neve Gordon, Gideon Levy, Jim Wall, Yael Lerer and Naomi Klein speak out about boycott, divestment, and sanctions; Israeli apartheid gets a new look; US Campaign National Organizer Katherine Fuchs interviewed in WireTap Magazine; Roger Waters of Pink Floyd knows a thing or two about walls; and more. Click here to view news and updates on the US Campaign blog.

* Debate Over Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Explodes -- On Both Sides of the Atlantic

The debate over boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) has positively exploded in the media over the past two weeks.  It all began with Ben-Gurion University Professor Neve Gordon's op-ed in the L.A. Times.  In the op-ed Dr. Gordon makes the case that international pressure in the form of BDS is the only way to save Israel from its own dehumanizing policies.  Of course, Dr. Gordon's op-ed was immediately followed by a firestorm in the Israeli media.  Click here to read Abe Selig's harsh response to Dr. Gordon in the Jerusalem Post and some more thoughtful responses by Gideon Levy and Anat Mater in Ha'aretz.

There was other exciting BDS news, unrelated to Dr. Gordon's L.A. Times op-ed, since the last edition of Occupation End Notes. Just yesterday, the Norwegian National Pension Fund officially announced that they had
divested from Elbit Systems, due to their role in Israel's apartheid wall and settlements!  This is a major victory for the BDS movement, as the Norwegian government specifically stated their reasons for divestment - Elbit's connection to violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories - something that no other major divester has done to date.  Elsewhere in Europe, the British Fire Brigades Union has introduced several BDS resolutions for debate at the Trade Union Congress's (TUC) annual congress in September.  This is a great step for unions supporting BDS in Britain; let's follow their lead and step up our own outreach to unions in the U.S.  Norwatch and Globes both recently reported that British investment bank Blackrock has divested from Lev Leviev's Africa-Israel company.  Leviev is a notorious settlement builder and has long been a target of the BDS movement. He recently stated that Africa-Israel would not be able to pay it's debts this year, a predicament that some are attributing to the BDS movement.

Finally, there's a brouhaha brewing over the Toronto International Film Festival's (TIFF) "Spotlight on Tel Aviv" theme for this year's festival.  So far John Greyson has pulled his film, Covered, from the festival, and several other celebrities have signed a letter to TIFF protesting its spotlight theme.  All of this is a sign of cultural and academic boycott campaigns rising up against Israel's "Brand Israel" propaganda campaign launched by its Foreign Ministry to draw international attention away from Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights.

There are lots of ways to keep updated on breaking BDS news: follow us on
Twitter, read our blog, or regularly check our BDS in the news webpage.

* Apartheid, Apartheid, Everywhere, and Not a Sanction in Sight

Critical analysis of Israeli apartheid has been making surprising media headway recently. With Israeli Professor Neve Gordon critiquing Israel's apartheid policies in The Los Angeles Times and YNet News; former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories John Dugard and Jewish American philanthropist Edgar Bronfman raising the specter of apartheid in The Huffington Post; Israeli journalist Gideon Levy pointing out the apartheid implications of the Sheikh Jarrah evictions in Ha'aretz; and Alain Gresh of Le Monde Diplomatique exploring connections between apartheid-era South Africa and Israel; it's evident that more and more people around the world are becoming aware of the apartheid reality of Israel's policies toward Palestinians. Click here to read more. Click here to check out the latest in media coverage of Israeli apartheid.

* Welcome New Member Groups to the US Campaign

In an effort to better help our coalition members network and for us to better gauge the coalition's regional diversity, we have put together a map with our more than 300 coalition members represented by state. Don't see you member group listed? Click here to join the US Campaign. Click here to check if your member group is in good standing with the US Campaign. Note that you have to be in good standing to send voting delegates to the National Conference!

Please welcome the following organizations to our coalition:

Jewish Voice for Peace Detroit - Michigan

Justice for Palestine UW Madison - Wisconsin

Northfielders for Justice in Palestine/Israel - Minnesota

* Jewish Voice for Peace and CODEPINK Announce "Why We Refuse" Tour Dates

The Shministim (Hebrew for "twelfth-graders") are an informal group of young Israelis who openly declare their refusal to join the Israeli military.  Every year, the Shministim sign a different letter, a tradition harkening back to the 1970s when the first Shministim class expressed their dissent in a letter to Prime Minister Golda Meir.  The 2008 letter, signed by both Maya and Netta, declares, "We cannot be moral and serve the occupation." The Shministim Tour is a series of conversations between two young Israeli women who went to jail for following their consciences and Americans from all communities and political backgrounds.  Maya Wind and Netta Mishly will speak at universities, synagogues, and community centers about their personal journeys from high school to military prison; a path shared by dozens of young Shministim but wholly unique in each case.  They will engage students, activists, supporters, and critics on both coasts and in between. The tour will last from September 13 through October 10, 2009. The tour is organized by US Campaign member groups Jewish Voice for Peace and CODEPINK Women for Peace. Click here to learn more.

* Skip Schiel Southeast Speaking Tour

Photojournalist Skip Schiel, who has traveled to Palestine/Israel as a peace witness multiple times, will be touring the Southeast this October/November with an emphasis on Florida and the Gulf States.  If you would like to host one of his multimedia slideshow presentations on Gaza, Bethlehem or the Hydropolitics of Palestine/Israel or his "Gaza: How Do 1.5 Millions People Live?" photo exhibit, please contact David by email or 803-215-3263. 

* Friends of Sabeel North America Conferences in Washington, DC and Cedar Falls, Iowa

US Campaign member group Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) is sponsoring two upcoming conferences. The first, "Pursue Justice, Seek Peace: Framing the Discourse, Mobilizing for Action" is October 1-3 at Shiloh Baptist Church, 1500 9th St., NW, Washington, DC. Click here for more information.

The second,  "A Free Palestine and a Secure Israel: From Occupation to Liberation and Reconciliation," is taking place October 9-10 at Schindler Education Center, UNI Campus, Cedar Falls, IA. Click here for more information.

To learn what groups in your area are doing, click here. To post and advertise an event on the US Campaign website, click here.

* American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights Announces Palestine Freedom Walks

Across the United States, US Campaign member group AAPER is organizing its First Annual Palestine Freedom Walks for October 10, 2009  The Palestine Freedom Walks will be silent marches, similar to those that took place during the Civil Rights Movement, on behalf of an equitable U.S. policy toward Palestine that advances freedom for the Palestinian people. Like the Freedom Walks during the Civil Rights Movement as well as AIDS Walks and Breast Cancer Walks before them, the Palestine Freedom Walks can have a major impact across the United States. Click here to learn more.

* Visit Israel/Palestine for Education and Solidarity

Check out the many opportunities to visit Israel/Palestine with US Campaign member groups Interfaith Peace-Builders, CODEPINK, Global Exchange, Christian Peacemaker Teams, and more!

Click here to view delegation opportunities.

* How You Can Sustain the US Campaign--Donate Today!

Occupation End Notes. Action alerts. An interactive event calendar. Unique content on our blog. Resources for local organizers. National organizing tours. Regional meetings. These are just a few of the tools that the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation provides to our supporters. Unfortunately, these resources aren't free. They take staff time, website fees, postage, printing expenses, and more.

If you, like thousands of other committed activists, find these resources vital for your organizing, make a tax-deductible donation to our ongoing work by donating online, donating office supplies and services, or joining the Olive Branch Club.

Click here for more information.

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Occupation End Notes is the US Campaign bi-weekly newsletter, designed as a tool for activists. For this newsletter to be successful, we need your participation. Use us to promote events, give feedback on recent actions, recommend resources, or just learn from other activists in the movement. If you or your organization are planning an event aimed at ending the occupation, or you have information for the Newsletter, please contact the US Campaign by emailing us here.

The US Campaign aims to change U.S. policies that sustain Israel's 42-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and that deny equal rights for all.