Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nakba Day Killings: One More Reason to Boycott Bibi

Above: Protesters gather along the Lebanese-Israeli border in Maroun al-Ras, Lebanon, to mark the anniversary of the Nakba. Photo: Mahmoud Ramsey. (click image to enlarge).

On Sunday, May 15, Israel killed at least 12 unarmed Palestinian refugees and injured hundreds more. The refugees were commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba, or "catastrophe," as Palestinians call their dispossession and expulsion by Israel before, during, and ever since its founding in 1948.

These Palestinian refugees, inspired by the "Arab Spring" to act as their own agents for achieving their fundamental human rights, sought to exercise their internationally recognized -- but long-denied -- right of return to their homes.

Israel's lethal response with live ammunition provides a stark reminder of the extent to which it will go to maintain its apartheid policies against Palestinians.

While Israel allows Jewish people from anywhere in the world automatically to attain citizenship, it forcibly forbids the return of Palestinian refugees whom it exiled from their homes. Such a policy -- discrimination based on religious or ethnic differences -- is the very definition of apartheid.

Israel's latest atrocity adds one more reason for you to persuade your Members of Congress to boycott Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu's upcoming address to a joint meeting of Congress on May 24.

We've almost reached two thirds of our goal of 10,000 signatures, after which we'll deliver your signature to House Speaker John Boehner, who invited Netanyahu to speak.

Have you signed the petition yet?  If not, please take a minute to sign it, and then spread the word to your friends!

Our message is starting to be heard. There's evidence that if Bibi comes to Congress to deliver more of the same tired arguments -- about why Israel should continue its apartheid rule over Palestinians -- then perhaps his reception won't be so warm.

Last Friday, the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv cited U.S. sources stating that if Bibi's speech doesn't contain "real content," then "he would be better off canceling it altogether... a speech before Congress is not a ritualistic matter -- he must lay out his vision for peace."[1]

Help us increase the pressure on Israel by signing our petition today.

While in Washington, DC, Netanyahu also will be speaking to the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the largest and most influential lobby supporting Israeli occupation and apartheid against Palestinians.

To coincide with AIPAC's conference, the US Campaign Steering Committee, Advisory Board and staff are gearing up to participate in the discourse-challenging panels and workshops of "Move Over AIPAC," a US Campaign-endorsed event, May 21-24.

Learn more about this seminal event, organized by US Campaign member group CODEPINK, and how you can get involved in efforts to challenge U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid. Join us as we continue our work to change U.S. policy to support freedom, justice and equality as we help to Move Over AIPAC.

[1] Thanks to Israeli human rights activist Didi Remez for the translation of this article.