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With Activists Setting Sail, Plus Amazing Annual Conference Lineup, it's a Movement in Motion!

In this Occupation End Notes we're delighted to announce our fantastic lineup for the US Campaign's 10th Annual National Organizers' Conference, set for September 16-19, in Washington, DC.

Syndicated columnist Rami Khouri, whose writing has informed public opinion throughout Europe, the Americas, and the Arab World; and political analyst Omar Barghouti, whose recent book on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) is a must-read, are confirmed for our Friday night panel on the Arab Spring and the Palestinian push for UN statehood. Palestinian lawyer and human rights advocate Diana Buttu is an invited speaker.

Saturday's plenaries will tap the US Campaign's coalition for experiences of challenging the prevailing discourse and U.S. policy by pursuing boycott and divestment from Israel's occupation, working for an end to military aid, taking legislative action, and other strategies. Omar Barghouti will moderate the morning plenary, and Phyllis Bennis, who directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and serves on the US Campaign's Steering Committee, will moderate the afternoon session.

We're thrilled that internationally renowned violinist and oud player Simon Shaheen will perform at our Saturday night benefit concert. Simon is applauded for his unique and masterful fusion of Arab, jazz and Western classical styles.

Sunday will feature a Grassroots Training Institute and member-led workshops.

We hope you, [[First_Name]], will be able to join us to reflect on our movement's past and current work, our achievements and struggles, and to help us set the stage and move toward the end of U.S. support of Israeli occupation and apartheid.

We'll be regularly updating our 10th Annual National Organizers' Conference web section. Member groups in good standing hold the rights to submit and vote on proposals, elect Steering Committee members, and help decide the overall direction of the US Campaign's work. Not sure if your group is in good standing? Need to pay your membership dues? Click here!


Rana Libdeh
Membership & Outreach Coordinator

US Campaign facilitates support for Gaza Freedom Flotilla II

As the Gaza Freedom Flotilla II, "Stay Human," is preparing to set sail this month, it's more important than ever to ensure its safe passage. Israel may follow through with its threats of using attack dogs and other violent--potentially life-threatening--means to intercept the boats, as was done to the previous international flotilla in 2010.

Last night 100 coalition members joined a teleconference with Leslie Cagan, organizer for the U.S. Boat to Gaza, and Laila El-Haddad, author of Gaza Mom, to talk about actions that people can take to support the Freedom Flotilla. Download a recording of the call, or stream it.

Meanwhile, we still need to keep the pressure on! Please sign this letter to President Obama to support the right of The Audacity of Hope to safe passage.

Sign Now...

State Dept. has obligation to oppose Israeli threats to attack U.S. Boat

From Athens, Felice Gelman of US Boat to Gaza, a US Campaign member group

Above: Click to watch a June 20 press conference held by U.S. Boat participants in New York City.

U.S. peace activists preparing to set sail on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, expressed profound disappointment over a statement issued by the U.S. State Department on Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Instead of calling on the Israeli government to let a flotilla of unarmed civilians sail to Gaza, the United States government is pressuring its own citizens to refrain from legal acts.

On Wednesday, the State Department sent out a "travel advisory" urging Americans not to participate in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. According to the statement, U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea, noting that previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea "have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens."

Keep Reading...

July 10 Anticipated as Final Hearing in Corrie Case

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

Israel Defense Forces' Former Gaza Division Southern Brigade Commander, Colonel Pinhas (Pinky) Zuaretz, has confirmed that he will testify Sunday, July 10, in what is anticipated to be the final hearing in the Corrie civil trial against the State of Israel.

Zuaretz was the commanding officer of the Gaza Division's Southern Brigade in 2003, when American peace activist Rachel Corrie was killed. Zuaretz is the highest ranking officer called as a government witness in the civil trial, and, possibly, the highest ranking Israeli military officer ever to face cross examination in a civil suit regarding the actions of the Israeli military against civilians in Gaza during the second intifada. His testimony is expected to shed light on the Israeli military's failures as an occupying power to protect civilian life and property in the region.

Get Trial Updates...

New FAQ resource on Palestinian UN membership and statehood

This September, Palestinians are expected to push for the State of Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations and to get additional countries to recognize Palestinian statehood.

Will this important diplomatic initiative succeed? It probably won't if the United States wields its veto in the Security Council to block Palestine's application for UN membership. Our country's support for Israeli occupation and apartheid is the key stumbling block to Palestinian freedom and it is up to us to change that.

To help us do so, we've launched a Frequently Asked Questions document to tackle the tricky legal, political, and historical issues raised by this initiative, as well as the implications for our coalition's work to change U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel to support human rights, international law, and equality. 

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Free Bassem and Naji Tamimi

Jewish Voice for Peace, a US Campaign member group

Bassem and Naji Tamimi are fathers, scholars, committed peace activists. Why is Israel jailing them? Because the army wants to use them as examples in order to stop the unarmed protests in the village of Nabi Saleh.

Like other villages, such as Bil'in and Ni'ilin, which protest weekly against Israeli Occupation, Nabi Saleh has been the target of systematic military repression in an attempt to quell the protests. The Israeli army has raided the village by day and by night, causing hundreds of injuries and carrying out 75 protest-related arrests - more than 10% of the village 550 people population - including women and many children.

Keep Reading...

One coalition member steps directly in the way of violence

Mel Southworth, Christian Peacemaker Teams, a US Campaign member group

Christian Peacemaker Teams is a faith-based organization that supports Palestinian-led, nonviolent grassroots resistance to the Israeli occupation and the unjust structures that uphold it. By "getting in the way" of violence and educating our home communities, we help create a space for justice and peace.

We maintain two project sites in Palestine, one in Hebron and the other in the Palestinian village of At-Tuwani. You can follow our work on Facebook and Twitter.

CPT also sends short-term peacemaker delegations into crisis settings around the world. Delegations offer a first-hand experience of CPT's on-the-ground experiment in active peacemaking while connecting delegates with dozens of local peacemakers. The next available delegation to Palestine/Israel takes place November 15-28, 2011.

Learn More...

New Coalition Member Delivers Petition to Regents

CU-Divest, a US Campaign member group

On June 22 at the Board of Regents meeting at UC's Colorado Springs campus, a local "grassroots movement" called CU-Divest! stood at the public forum segment of the Regents meeting and appealed to the Regents to divest from Israeli apartheid.

Local activist, Michael Rabb spoke for about two minutes and delivered the group's petition with 1500 signatures calling on the University to divest from companies that support Israel’s occupation, colonization and apartheid.

Learn More...

On World Refugee Day 2011: Put Palestinian Refugees back on the agenda

Above: A page from Badil's "Q&A: What You Need to Know About Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons."

Badii Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights

On the occasion of World Refugee Day 2011, BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights calls on the international community to promote and protect the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence, sovereignty and return to the homes and properties from which they have been forcibly displaced.

Seven out of every ten Palestinians are persons displaced at some point during the past 63 years as a result of Israel's ongoing policy of forced population transfer. Of these refugees, the majority are not protected by the UNHCR (the organizer of World Refugee Day) and have had the body responsible for providing them with protection, the UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP) largely de-funded and de-activated. As such, most Palestinian refugees are left without an effective agency to provide for protection and promotion of their rights and are only afforded humanitarian assistance by UNRWA.

Keep Reading...

Palestine Online Store offers resources about refugees

Haithem El-Zabri, Palestine Online Store, a US Campaign member group

On the occasion of World Refugee Day 2011 (June 20th), and as part of oureffort to increase awareness about our Palestinian struggle, PalestineOnline Store has launched a new page featuring items that focus on refugee issues.

The new section includes eight books, including Badil's "Handbook on Protection of Palestinian Refugees,"eight films, including "Salt of this Sea" and "Chronicles of a Refugee," six musicCDs, including Marcel Khalife's "The Bridge" and Doc Jazz's "Front DoorKey," two shirts, including Dr. Fayeq Oweiss' "Awda" calligraphy, as well asbuttons and posters.

For every order placed TODAY, June 24, for these items, we will donate $5 to Al-Awda,the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, as a contribution to theorganization's outstanding advocacy for refugee rights.

Shop Now...

Lecture on Video: "Palestine and the Spring of the Arab Peoples"

The Palestine Center, a US Campaign member organization
Recorded June 16, 2011 in Washington, DC

Asad Ghanem is a senior lecturer at the School of Political Sciences at the University of Haifa. His theoretical work has explored the legal, institutional and political conditions in ethnic states. He has been the initiator and designer of several policy schemes and empowerment programs for Palestinian Arabs in Israel.

Video & Transcript...

When the Obama administration seeks to establish its pro-Israel bona fides, it's no critics allowed.

Josh Ruebner, our National Advocacy Director, tried to attend a recent event at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), but WINEP revoked his invitation at the last minute.  Read Josh's June 16 account in Mondoweiss...

Assistant Secretary of State Esther Brimmer, who heads the department's Bureau of International Organization Affairs, delivered a humdinger of a speech yesterday to the AIPAC derivative "think tank" Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).

During her speech, Brimmer recounted the Obama Administration's multi-pronged efforts to increase Israeli participation in multilateral forums, bragged about its quest to undermine UN efforts to hold Israel accountable for its illegal actions, and equated Palestinian efforts to seek their long-denied rights at the UN with the "delegitimization" of Israel.

Keep Reading...

AAPER Holds Nearly 30 Palestine Film Festivals Across U.S.

American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights (AAPER), a US Campaign member organization

In April and May, over 3,000 Americans in 27 cities across the United States attended AAPER’s Palestine Film Festivals.  The Film Festivals were unprecedented in geographic scope, taking place in every part of the country, from New York to New Mexico, Connecticut to California, South Carolina to Minnesota.

Learn More...

L A S T   W O R D S

The Flavor of Palestine

We've teamed up with our friends at Canaan Fair Trade to offer you Palestinian fair trade products delivered directly to your door. Buying CFT products is a great way to support Palestinian farmers and the US Campaign.

CFT olive oils make especially great gifts. Buy this Rumi Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a case of six 1-liter tins for $170. The Rumi Tree, cultivated in Palestine since the Roman Era, produces a robust and pungent olive oil with a buttery finish. It's USDA-certified organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin. Every tin sold sends $1 to Palestine Trees for Life, and an additional $1 for Canaan Scholarships.

Shop Now...

Member groups, member groups everywhere!

Rana Libdeh, Membership & Outreach Coordinator

Here are the latest newcomers to our more than 350-strong coalition. It's great to have you!

Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land - Portland, OR
Birmingham Peace Project - Birmingham, AL
Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine-Israel Network - Chicago, IL
Palestinian American Organizations at FAU - Coral Springs, FL
Committee for Justice in the Middle East - Madison, WI
CU Divest! - Boulder, CO

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.

Has your group joined us yet?

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