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A million ways to "be the change"

February 25, 2011

In the brilliant tenor of Gandhi's legendary exhortation (above), we and so many others continue in high gear this week as we approach the March 1 registration deadline for our exciting annual activist training weekend, March 5-7...

...and as the Obama Administration outrageously votes "no" on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel's illegal settlements, supported by more than 13,000 you who signed our petition, which we hand-delivered to U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice...

...and as democracy movements and their resulting authoritarian backlash further engulf the Middle East and North Africa...

...and as our member organizations do not cease to surprise us with their creative actions to challenge U.S. support for Israeli occupation! (See some below.)

Next Wednesday, March 2, at 9:00 pm EST we'll hold a nationwide conference call about Egypt's revolution, and its implications for our ongoing movement to end U.S. support for Israel's apartheid policies -- including creative ideas to use Egypt's revolution to advance human rights for Palestinians.

We're honored to be joined on this call by Noura Erakat, Adjunct Professor of International Human Rights Law and the Middle East at Georgetown University, Hany Khalil, Egyptian-American and former Organizing Coordinator for United for Peace and Justice, and Phyllis Bennis, US Campaign Steering Committee Member and Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.

To register in advance for the conference call, please email membership@endtheoccupation.org.


A father speaks for his son

Ahmet Dogan's powerful op-ed about the death of his 19-year-old son, Furkan, aboard the Mavi Marmara appeared in yesterday's Albany Times Union.  In 2003, some newspaper readers responded cruelly to the death of Rachel Corrie, but others wrote beautiful tributes to Rachel as well. Today let's ensure that Furkan receives an outpouring of support too. Write your letter to the editor at tuletters@timesunion.com.

Letters must be shorter than 250 words, typed in the body of a message (not an attachment), and include the writer's name, address and phone number, and specify whether to publish their e-mail addresses.

Read Dogan's Op-Ed...

Veto of Israeli Settlement Resolution Puts U.S. on Wrong Side of History

The veto reinforces how anachronistic and out-of-step U.S. policy is with both the aspirations of people in the Middle East and with the international community.

By Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director

When U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice thrust a solitary American arm into the air last Friday to cast the Obama Administration’s first-ever Security Council veto in defense of Israel’s illegal settlements, the United States regrettably placed itself squarely on the wrong side of history as movements for freedom and democracy revolutionize the Middle East.

This veto -- the fortieth cast by the United States since 1967 in defense of Israel’s illegal military occupation of Arab lands and the illegal policies it pursues to maintain it -- represents much more than the United States yet again acting to shield Israel from accountability for its blatant violations of international law.

Article continues...

O U R  M E M B E R  G R O U P S

Protesters picket Portland event launching an Oregon-Israel business alliance

The Oregonian, Feb. 22, 2011

Protesters demanding rights for Palestinians picketed Tuesday outside the Portland launch of an organization formed to boost business between Oregon and Israel.

Oregon trade with Israel is currently dominated by Intel Corp., which has an expanding semiconductor factory and a research group there.

Outside, protester Steve Kerpen held a sign that said "Stop funding Israeli apartheid." Kerpen, of Portland, said he saw Israelis mistreating Palestinians during a visit to the West Bank in May. "I'm Jewish, but I've seen what's happening," Kerpen said. "It just seems a horrible thing to support a country that does this to its citizens."

Portland-based [US Campaign member group] Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights opposes business ties, saying Israel maintains apartheid policies that discriminate against Arabs. Peter Miller, president of the organization, said [Gov.] Kulongoski didn't address his group's concerns when members raised them last fall before the October trade trip.

"This lack of willingness to even talk about these human rights issues is disturbing," Miller said.

[The group will be holding another Portland protest on Sunday, March 6, outside a regional meeting of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). See our calendar to the left for details.]

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Take Action: Let Omar Barghouti speak in the U.S.

Jewish Voice for Peace, a US Campaign member group

Effectively canceling a planned speaking tour, the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem has inexplicably delayed granting a visa for Omar Barghouti, founding member of the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) campaign. Barghouti was due to tour the United States this April for the release of his new book, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights.

Contact the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and the Department of State to ask them to fulfill the Obama Administration's promise of "promoting the global marketplace of ideas" and grant Barghouti's visa immediately. Demand your right to hear this key leader in the nonviolent struggle for a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Learn More, Take Action...

Israel Philharmonic meets protest in NYC for whitewashing apartheid

Adalah-NY, a US Campaign member group

70 New Yorkers protested the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's (IPO) performance at Carnegie Hall Tuesday evening, using chants, songs and street theater to highlight the IPO's role in whitewashing Israel's apartheid policies against the Palestinian people.  The orchestra's performances are being met with protests in six of the seven cities on its U.S. tour, including a protest last Sunday evening in West Palm Beach, an upcoming Wednesday protest in Newark, and further protests in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, as reported by the Israeli news website YNet.

Noelle Ghoussaini from Adalah-NY explained, "Tonight we sent a clear message to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Israeli government’s 'Brand Israel' campaign that their music cannot drown out Palestinians' calls for justice."

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Rachel Corrie Foundation opens registration for 2011 conference featuring Alice Walker

Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, a US Campaign member group

The April 8-9 conference includes two days of networking, panels and workshops at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Panelists will address the current situation in Israel/Palestine, strategies for justice and peace, the growing international campaigns for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), and cross-movement building. Local and national organizers will facilitate workshops to educate, motivate and provide tools for community organizing.

Scheduled workshops and events include:
-- Human Rights and Strategies for Justice in Palestine/Israel
-- Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaigns & -- Grassroots Organizing
-- Organizing with the Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project
-- Cross-Movement Building
-- Social Networking as an organizing tool
-- Report on Trial in Israel by the Corries
-- Celebration with music and dancing Sat. evening in Downtown Olympia

Register Now...


Organizers of "Israeli Apartheid Week" petition NYC LGBT Center over cancellation of fund-raiser

Israeli Apartheid Week NYC

The New York City coordinating committee of Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) has launched a petition to New York's LGBT Center, in response to the center's sudden decision not to host IAW's March 5 event, "Party to End Apartheid."

The event was to be a benefit for two groups preparing to send another aid ship to Gaza: "Existence is Resistance," and the "Siege Busters Working Group," whose membership includes Emily Henochowicz, a Cooper Union art student who lost an eye while peacefully protesting in the occupied West Bank.

The LGBT Center, which hosts hundreds of diverse events per year, canceled the event after a prominent local right-wing gay activist, Michael Lucas, organized a boycott against it. Lucas is known for his "Men of Israel" films.

IAW's NYC coordinating committee has released a statement in response to the cancellation, and will attempt to collect as many petition signatures as possible.

UC Davis faculty members want charges dropped against Muslim students who disrupted speech at UC Irvine

Los Angeles Times, Feb. 22, 2011

About 20 current and retired faculty members at UC Davis have joined a group of 100 UC Irvine faculty members in asking the Orange County district attorney to drop criminal charges against 11 Muslim students who disrupted a speech by the Israeli ambassador to the United States.

The UC Davis faculty members sent a letter to the district attorney’s office Tuesday stating that the university campus should be a "place for civil discourse and debate."

On Feb. 4, the attorney’s office charged 11 students from UC Irvine and UC Riverside with misdemeanors for the incident, in which Israeli ambassador Michael Oren was repeatedly shouted down during a speech.

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Take Action on March 30th:
Join the 3rd Global BDS Day of Action!

As popular uprisings continue across the Middle East, boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) organizing is heating up in the United States!

March promises to be a month full of creative events and actions, starting with Israeli Apartheid Week and wrapping up with a BDS Day of Action on March 30th, Palestinian Land Day. Please be a part of it!

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is calling on supporters around the world to unite in a March 30th Day of Action by organizing BDS activities supporting: divestment; consumer, cultural and academic boycott; legal action and media activism. Click here to read the full call.

Not sure what to do? There's something for everyone!

We've Got Ideas!...

L A S T  W O R D S

Make Spring Cleaning softer, more natural, while uplifting Palestinian farmers!

Our unscented olive oil soap is hand-cut into 3 oz. rounds and wrapped in a new descriptive label. Order your case of 12 or 48 (save big with the large case). The soap is handmade in the traditional way by women's cooperatives around the West Bank, using certified organic and fair-trade Palestinian olive oil, plus fair-trade coconut oil from Sri Lanka. Find it in our store, and also check out our bumper stickers, buttons, coffee mugs, art by Carlos Latuff, and much more.

Shop Now...

Member Groups, Member Groups Everywhere!

To better aid our members' networking efforts, and to better gauge the coalition's regional diversity, we've mapped our 325-plus members, state-by-state! Don't see your group listed? Click here to join the US Campaign.