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Hey Mister D.J., This One's Dedicated to Freedom, Justice & Equality!

May 26, 2011

This week, Congress and President Obama played disc jockey, spinning the same old tunes for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Stuck and skipping like the worn grooves of an old vinyl record, the 20-year-old U.S. "peace process" is mired in its old formulaic code words:

"Land swaps" is code for "Israel gets to keep most of the West Bank and East Jerusalem." "Israel as a Jewish state" means "It's fine with the United States to maintain legal discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel." And "Palestine as the homeland of the Palestinian people" translates to "No Right of Return" for refugees. 

So if 20 years of monotonous and moribund U.S. policy is not what challenges Netanyahu and his legions of cheerleaders filling the AIPAC gala dining room and the U.S. House chamber this week, then what does?

International Law. Beyond the lip-service paid by the U.S. government to justice and human rights, when it comes to policy, there's always that one little blunder of completely ignoring international law.

The past few days brought an unmistakably brilliant reminder -- not in the House chamber, nor the AIPAC convention -- but out in the Washington streets, where "Move Over AIPAC" activists, organized by our coalition member CODEPINK, gathered from across the United States to say: "We have a better approach! We believe that the majority in this country stands for international law and human rights, even if Congress and the President are scared to admit it."

Read on for the latest words, actions and initiatives -- by US Campaign members, allies and friends -- blaring with more flair and forte than the old broken record of Obama, Netanyahu and AIPAC.

CodePink Activist Disrupts Israeli PM Speech to Congress

Democracy Now!, May 25, 2011

There was at least one dissenting voice inside the halls of Congress on Tuesday. Rae Abileah, a Jewish-American activist of Israeli descent with the peace group CodePink, disrupted Netanyahu's speech. Standing in the congressional gallery, she yelled, "No more occupation! Stop Israel war crimes! Equal rights for Palestinians! Occupation is indefensible!" As she screamed, members in the audience tackled her to the ground, and undercover security forces later dragged her outside. She was taken to George Washington University Hospital where she was treated for neck and shoulder injuries. 

Watch/Read Broadcast...

The Emporer's clothes are still on, for now.

(while his heckler is roughed up, hospitalized)

Above: CODEPINK member Rae Abileah is tackled during Netanyahu's address to Congress.

By Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director, on Mondoweiss, May 24, 2011

Gliding down the aisle of the House of Representatives like a popular president about to deliver the State of the Union address, escorted by a phalanx of dozens of ebullient Members of Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu entered a joint meeting of Congress today to a round of hearty handshakes and a thunderous standing ovation.

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No More Applause

By Cecilie Surasky, Jewish Voice for Peace, a US Campaign member organization
May 26, 2011

I was stunned to see that our entire U.S. Congress gave Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu 29 standing ovations on Tuesday. Twenty-nine. Unbelievable, given what his speech contained.

The speech that Netanyahu gave that day will go down in history as an extraordinary embarrassment to Americans and Israelis alike. Read on to find out what he said and why we cannot let it go unanswered.

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Catching AIPAC Off Guard

By Omar Barghouti, Palestinian human rights activist and author of "Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS): The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights"
May 13, 2011

The Arab democratic spring, striving to end authoritarian rule and establish freedoms and social justice, has not been welcome by all. Israel and its main lobby in the U.S., the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), for instance, appear to have been caught off guard and visibly disturbed by the seemingly irreversible transformations that these uprisings promise to bring about in the Arab world and, to an extent, the world at large. 

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Just as well that Obama had no details about Middle East peace

By Nadia Hijab, US Campaign Advisory Board Member
The Hill, May 19, 2011

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict -- temporarily pushed off the front pages by the killing of Osama bin Laden -- is squarely back in the news as the Obama administration and Israel try to set the agenda in advance of the Palestinian plan to request full membership at the United Nations this September.

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In court, IDF's latest "expert" witness vilifies nonviolent accompaniers

By Cindy & Craig Corrie, of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice, a US Campaign member organization
May 25, 2011

The lengthy civil trial in Israel in the case of Rachel Corrie continued Sunday, May 22, with former IDF spokeswoman Ruth Yaron attacking the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Cindy Corrie commented:

"In this so-called 'expert' testimony that drew largely on highly questionable hearsay and secondary sources, it was again deeply troubling to see the length to which the state of Israel is willing to go in its attempts to justify killing a nonviolent, unarmed civilian acting to defend Palestinian human rights."

Based on information that has surfaced during the trial, the Corrie family has asked the Obama Administration to address the Israeli government's failure to comply with its 2003 promise to the Bush Administration to conduct a "thorough, credible, and transparent" investigation.

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"We Need Everyone On Board."

US To Gaza, a US Campaign member group
May 22, 2011

Above: Click to see video by US To Gaza, and learn how you can join a campaign of letter-writing to people in Gaza.

The launch of the U.S. Boat To Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, is set for late June, just weeks away. We want to make sure our network is as large as can be and we have the strongest voice possible in the U.S. as the boat sails.

Join all of our communication networks: sign up to receive our emails, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

See Video & Learn More...

Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Act threatens free speech at UC Santa Cruz

By Kristin Szremski, Director of Media & Communications at American Muslims for Palestine, a US Campaign member group
San Jose Mercury News, Opinion Page, May 18, 2011

Free speech and the unimpeded exchange of ideas are under attack on America's college campuses. Federal funding for institutions of higher education, including moneys for research and academic conferences, may be hanging in the balance.

In March, federal authorities ... announced they are investigating charges of anti-Semitism against UC Santa Cruz. This is the first investigation since Title VI of the Civil Rights Act was reinterpreted in October 2010, allowing Jewish students -- as members of a religious group -- to claim discrimination under a provision that previously applied only to racial and ethnic bigotry.

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"Voices of the Peace-Builders" delegation arrives in Israel/Palestine

Above: IFPB's delegation, led by US Campaign National Organizer Anna Baltzer (far left).

Interfaith Peace-Builders, a US Campaign member group
May 23, 2011

Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) is pleased to announce that our 31-member delegation to Israel/Palestine arrived at Ben-Gurion airport Monday morning and is now safely in Jerusalem.

Given the current situation in the West Bank, the delegation will focus on the challenges facing nonviolent activists resisting occupation.

Continues with Roster...

How Flash Mobs and Lady Gaga are Energizing Protests for Palestine

Above: Click to see video of the flash mob last Friday at Union Station in Washington, DC, which kicked off the events of Move Over AIPAC.

Editor's Note: The US Campaign's National Organizer, Anna Baltzer, has compiled a fantastic resource to help anyone set up their first flash mob! Click here to get it!

By Kiera Feldman in AlterNet, May 19, 2011

Not long before Christmas, in a Best Buy in a St. Louis mall, 86-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein performed a synchronized song-and-dance number to the tune of "Telephone," rocking black pants and a turtleneck in lieu of Lady Gaga's metal-studded bra and crotch cover. Epstein, along with a cohort of mostly young women, urged the bewildered holiday shoppers to "hang up on Motorola," a company that sells Israel surveillance equipment used in the Occupation. "Aiding in apartheid and being sneaky/tell us what you're doing with your technology," they sang.

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Nakba Denials Must Be Condemned

By Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director of the Palestine Center, a US Campaign member organization
May 25, 2011

When Palestinian refugees were gunned down by Israeli soldiers upon marching toward their homeland during unarmed Nakba Day demonstrations, the floodgates of historic revisionism opened.

What is this 'Nakba'? Where did these refugees come from? Who should be responsible for them? Readers undoubtedly raised these questions when the spilled blood of demonstrators brought the discussion of the most pivotal year in Palestinian history, 1948, back into the headlines.

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CAUGHT: Ahava's Theft of Occupied Natural Resources Finally Exposed

By CODEPINK, a US Campaign member organization
May 18, 2011

After years of strenuous denial, Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli cosmetics firm with its main manufacturing plant in an illegal West Bank settlement, is proven by documentary evidence to be in violation of international law through its theft of Palestinian resources. This evidence was recently discovered by Who Profits, a research project of the Israeli Coalition for Peace.

Merav Amir, Coordinator of Who Profits, said, "Ahava can no longer continue misleading consumers about where they get the mud used in their products. This mud is from the Occupied West Bank and is stolen from the Palestinian people."

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L A S T   W O R D S

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Member groups, member groups everywhere!

Rana Libdeh, Membership & Outreach Coordinator

To aid our members' networking efforts and to better gauge the coalition's regional diversity, we've mapped our member organizations, state-by-state!  Click here to view the full list of groups.

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