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An Inspiring 10th Annual Conference!

September 30th, 2011

How to multiply your billboards and birddog your Representative to challenge U.S. military aid to Israel, and how to organize your campus or community to boycott businesses that violate Palestinian human rights, and get TIAA-CREF to divest from such businesses were a few topics among many discussed and debated by more than 160 delegates from 30 states and 63 member groups at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation's 10th Annual National Organizers' Conference held in the historic Thurgood Marshall Center in Washington, DC on Sept 16 - 19.  

Our coalition was joined by hundreds more guests for the Friday night panel on “What the Arab Spring and Palestinian Statehood Mean for Our Work" with Omar Barghouti, Helena Cobban, Rami Khouri, and Nadia Hijab - watch the video here -  and for the spectacular Saturday night benefit concert with Simon Shaheen.

The maturity of our coalition and the lessons we've all been learning from experience shone through the two Saturday panels showcasing the initiatives and successes of member groups in advancing boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns and challenging U.S. diplomatic and military support for Israeli occupation and human rights abuses of Palestinians. Watch these two panels here. Panelists then strategized with delegates in small groups to advances these campaigns.

The conference also included member group report-backs, more than a dozen member group-led skills-building workshops, and voting on member group-led initiatives for US Campaign endorsement.  

Delegates elected four members to the Steering Committee—Sydney Levy (Jewish Voice for Peace), Mike Merryman-Lotze (American Friends Service Committee), Peter Miller (Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights), and Kristin Szremski (American Muslim for Palestine), in alphabetical order.

Read more in our conference report, and be sure to check out our photo album.

It's hard to believe that we are now entering the 10th year of our coalition's existence.  What began as just a few groups has mushroomed into a fully-fledged national coalition of nearly 400 organizations today!

We've certainly learned some important lessons about how to organize effectively and the way forward to achieve our goal of ending U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid and changing U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel to support freedom, justice, and equality. 

Read this inspiring document—Looking Back, Moving Forward—Lessons Learned from 10 Years of Work"— and let us know what you think about it by replying to this email.

As we begin our 10th year of work, our coalition is more focused, more effective, and more energized than ever.  We are confident and optimistic that we have helped unleash a process of social change whose ultimate victory is only a matter of time.