Showing posts with label city councils. Show all posts
Showing posts with label city councils. Show all posts

Friday, September 14, 2012

Apartheid, L.A. Don't Roll that way! -- Reportback & Call to Action

DumpVeolia.LA activists rally outside City Hall
On September 12, 2012, Los Angeles Residents Confronted Veolia Corporation on Human Rights Violations at L.A. City Council Transportation Committee. Below you'll find a Report-Back and Call to Action from DumpVeolia.LA. ***PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY!*** There's something everyone can do among the items in red below.

On Wednesday, September 12, 2012, more than 40 people gathered to support the LA DumpVeolia Campaign at 2pm in the middle of a workday at the City of Los Angeles Transportation Committee during the first public hearing regarding the renewal of two contracts with Veolia to operate several lines of the city-run DASH buses that provide short run bus service to city residents. Over 30 people directly addressed the committee explaining their personal reasons for opposing the city doing business with a corporation actively involved in maintaining, and profiting from an apartheid transportation system in Palestine.  Over 500 postcards, petition signatures and letters from groups and individuals opposed to the awarding of this contract were submitted to the committee.

Community members testify before the transportation
committee of the L.A. City Council in opposition to Veolia.
Those making statements included representatives of Jewish Voice for Peace and the Los Angeles County Green Party.  Speakers included Christian clergy members, Anti-war organizers, Immigration-Rights organizers, Human Rights lawyers, and Labor Organizers.  Speaking against Veolia were members of the African-American, Chicano/Mexican, Jewish and Muslim communities in Los Angeles, as well as both Christian and Muslim Palestinians.

One representative of Veolia Corporation and four representatives of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles spoke on the other side arguing that Veolia’s record of violating basic Human Rights around the world should not be considered when deciding on the awarding of this contract.

Despite Los Angeles’ history of being one of the first major cities in the U.S. to boycott and divest from the South African apartheid regime in the 80’s, divestment from corporations doing business with the military dictatorship in Burma in the 90’s, the severing of ties with the Boy Scouts of America in recent years because of that organizations open discrimination against members of the Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Trans/Queer community and Atheists, and the Boycott of Arizona beginning in 2010 after that state passed its racist anti-immigrant law SB1070 and despite the overwhelming support in the room to not award this contract to Veolia the three members of the committee present: Paul Koretz, Tom La Bonge and José Huizar voted unanimously to support Veolia’s bid.

A diverse group of more than 40 community members
showed up on a work day on short notice to show
support for the DumpVeolia.LA Campaign.
The LA DumpVeolia Campaign now has reason to believe that these contracts will now come before the full Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, September 19th for a final decision. We strongly urge all who can to attend and be prepared the make a brief statement. There will be no comment time for this specific issue; however, there will be a period for general comments and we need you there!

Please RSVP now to attend the hearing this Wednesday, September 19th!

Stay tuned as the time approaches, as plans are not final.

If you are in the L.A. area but cannot attend on Wednesday, please click here to send letters to the L.A. city council.

And even if you are not in the L.A. area, everyone can sign this petition to the council members asking them to Dump Veolia! Sign today!

Finally, please join the DumpVeolia.LA Facebook page to follow developments...

The LA DumpVeolia Campaign would like to express their deepest thanks to all those who were able to attend this important meeting that put issues of Palestinian human rights and Israeli Apartheid directly in front of Council members and the City of L.A. in a way that hasn’t happened for at least many years, if ever.  We believe we made a very strong statement that we will be able to build on next week at the full City Council meeting and beyond, whatever happens there.  We also want to thank everyone nationally and internationally who have provided such invaluable support and solidarity.

The Los Angeles Dump Veolia Campaign is a local autonomous group that is part of the international Palestinian-led Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) movement working for justice and respect for human rights in Palestine.  Please watch for important action alerts in the next few days for ways you can support the Campaign as we get closer to the final City Council vote.

Click here to view the Los Angeles Times article about the action.

Contact DumpVeolia.LA at to receive action alerts and to get more involved in this critical stage of the campaign.

For more information about the international BDS movement and Veolia corporation please visit

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Get Your City to Take a Stand against Weapons to Israel

By Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director

On Monday, President Obama is scheduled to submit his 2013 budget request to Congress, which could include as much as $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel! 

Weapons that we taxpayers give to Israel demand an unacceptable moral cost, enabling Israel to injure and kill Palestinian civilians, entrench its 44-year military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, expropriate Palestinian land for illegal Israeli settlements, and perpetuate its apartheid regime over Palestinians. 

Military aid to Israel also has an unacceptable financial cost.  A policy paper we'll be launching during Occupy AIPAC (register to participate, March 2-6) puts it this way:

"During this time of economic crisis, it is irresponsible for the United States to continue to expand military aid to Israel--or, indeed, continue it at present levels. The remainder of the $30 billion pledged to Israel in the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) but not yet appropriated, could be easily foregone, thereby reducing the U.S. national debt. A far better use of the taxpayer money the United States now gives to Israel--the 28th wealthiest country in the world in 2011 according to the International Monetary Fund--for weapons could be much better spent to help meet unmet community needs here at home."

That's exactly why we're investing resources to help grassroots activists like you to organize to get the your city council to pass a resolution to end military aid to Israel and to redirect that money to crucial needs in your community.

If you or your local activist group are interested in making this happen in your city, then take advantage of these great opportunities:

1.Join the US Campaign for an all-day training and strategy session this Sunday, February 12 in Milwaukee, WI. For those of you in the area, learn more and register here.

2.Join the US Campaign for a conference call on Wednesday, February 15 at 9:00 pm (Eastern). Our special guests will be two activists who have undertaken extraordinary work to pass local and national resolutions to end U.S. spending on wars and redirect the money to unmet community needs:

Lisa Savage is Local Coordinator for CODEPINK and a co-coordinator of Maine's Bring Our War $$ Home campaign, which aims to educate and influence public opinion by means of city council resolutions.

As the CODEPINK Bring Our War $$ Home campaign organizer, C.J. Minster led the successful national grassroots effort to submit and pass a resolution "Calling on Congress to Redirect Military Spending to Domestic Priorities at the US Conference of Mayors."

Lisa and C.J. will share their expertise and provide us with inspiration, while the US Campaign shares with you the resources we've developed to help you organize locally. 

To join the call, dial 209-647-1600 and enter the access code 489902.

3.And, don't forget about our matching funds competition. Your local group could be eligible to receive part of the $7,500 in matching funds that we are providing to member groups of the US Campaign that are organizing city council campaigns this year.  But, act quickly, because the deadline is February 19. Learn more about the competition and apply here.

We've assembled an all-star panel of judges to help us select winning applications:

Laila El-Haddad is a journalist, blogger, media activist based in Baltimore, and author of Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything in Between.

Nadia Hijab is director of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network, and a writer, public speaker and media commentator. She is an Advisory Board member of the US Campaign.

Remi Kanazi is a poet, writer, and activist based in New York City. He is the author of Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Where in the World is YOUR Representative?!

Last week, the President and Congress narrowly avoided an unprecedented default on the U.S. debt by agreeing at the 11th hour to raise the debt-ceiling. But S&P still downgraded the U.S. credit rating, pushing U.S. and global financial markets into a downfall.

Washington's deal does nothing to help Americans who are still suffering from massive cutbacks in social services, an unemployment rate stuck above 9% (over 16% among African-Americans), and an estimated 10 million families facing foreclosure on their homes by next year.

This August break is for Members of Congress to be at home, meeting with constituents to hear about our concerns. They should be listening to our anxiety about the economy and thinking through ways to dig us out of the financial mess they've created with their corporate giveaways, tax breaks for the wealthy and lax regulation of unscrupulous banks that are forcing people out of their homes with fraudulent mortgage documents.

They should hear our outrage about what the more than $1.2 trillion of our tax dollars are doing to the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan and to our troops they're sending over to fight wars without purpose.

Instead, 81 Representatives--nearly 20% of the House--are hightailing off to Israel on an all-expense-paid junket organized by an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).  Israel's goal there is to lobby the Representatives to continue sending the Israeli military $30 billion of our tax money -- the amount pledged for these 10 years (2009-2018). That means sending money we won't have for jobs and healthcare to buy weapons for Israel to perpetuate its illegal military occupation and apartheid policies toward Palestinians. 

It's time to "name and shame" these Members of Congress who put more weapons for Israel ahead of their own constituents' economic rights. We need you to take action today:

1. Call your Representative and ask if s/he is going (or has gone) to Israel this month on a trip paid by the AIPAC-affiliate American Israel Educational Foundation (AIEF).  If not, thank your Representative for not going. If so, politely express your outrage and urge your Representative to cancel the trip if s/he hasn't left yet. Look up contact information for your Representative here, or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be transferred. Let us know the result of your call so that we can keep a running list of who is going (only a few of the 81 names are public at this point).

2. Write a letter-to-the-editor of your local paper and call into a local radio talk show to express your outrage about how much money your Congressional district is scheduled to give in weapons to Israel and what that money could be used for instead to fund unmet needs in your community (find out just how much here). Use the data along with our sample letter-to-the-editor to raise awareness in your community about the misplaced priorities of Congress. Mentioning your Representative in the local media gets the immediate attention of Congressional staff.

3. Organize a meeting with your Members of Congress during this August recess to urge that they end military aid to Israel and redirect that money to needs here at home. Sign up to schedule a meeting, get a template constituent meeting request, and download a memo to give to your Representative. Attend "town hall" meetings and put your Representative on the spot in public. 

4. Organize a campaign to get your city council to pass a resolution opposing U.S. military aid to Israel and calling on the President and Congress to redirect that money to unmet needs in your city. Download an organizing how-to guide, template resources, and more on our new website: Fund community needs, not Israel's misdeeds!

We are in an economic crisis. We've got to send a stringent warning to our elected officials that we will no longer accept business as usual. Take action today to demand that Members of Congress do their job to respond to this crisis by working in their districts and listening to us, not by taking lobbyist-paid junkets to guarantee their support for even more money and weapons to Israel.

Thank you for acting constructively upon the outrage we all feel right now.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lower the Debt -- End U.S. Military Aid to Israel: 10 Things You Can Do!

As the President and Congress grapple with a formula to raise the debt-ceiling by next Tuesday to avert the United States defaulting on its loans, we offer this suggestion to our elected officials:

Lower the debt by ending U.S. military aid to Israel.

Above: Check out our new slideshow of unique billboards and public transit ads opposing military aid to Israel. Also read below to join next week's conference call where the organizers of these ads will explain how you can do this in your city!

We know that cutting off the $30 billion in weapons pledged to Israel from 2009 to 2018 won't solve our country's gargantuan $14.3 trillion debt crisis, but it sure would help.  From a moral and financial perspective, we cannot afford to provide Israel with the weapons it misuses to sustain its illegal 44-year military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

Here are 10 things you can do to advance our coalition's ongoing campaign to educate people in the United States about the true costs of arming Israel and mobilize them to end our country's military support for Israel's violations of Palestinian human rights:
1. Learn from experts how to place an ad in your community to oppose military aid to Israel. US Campaign member groups have purchased ads in at least nine U.S. cities. Find out how to make your city the next.  Join us for a conference call on Thursday, August 4, at 9:00 pm Eastern.  To join the call, dial (760) 569-7676 and use the access code 545802#. No RSVP needed.

2. Join more than 2,000 people in more than 800 cities and 49 states (come on North Dakota -- we know you're out there) who are educating and mobilizing people in their communities.  Sign up to receive an organizing packet in the mail.  It includes postcards, petitions, flyers, fact sheets and stickers -- everything you need to lay out your case.

3. Get your city council to pass a resolution opposing military aid to Israel.  Read our brand-new organizing how-to guide, download templates and resources, and let us help you publicize your campaign.  Fund community needs, not Israel's misdeeds!

4. Find out the staggering amount of money that people in your state, congressional district, county and city give in weapons to Israel and what that same amount could purchase instead for unmet needs like housing and health care.

Above: Last night members of CODEPINK, a US Campaign member organization, held a banner in front of the White House: "NO U.S. TAX $$ FOR ISRAEL." Click image to enlarge.

5. Use the numbers on our website to write President Obama and your Members of Congress a letter opposing military aid to Israel. Urge them to redirect that money to unmet needs here at home.

6. Use those numbers to write a letter to the editor of your local paper or call in to your local talk show.  Reference a recent story on the debt-ceiling negotiations, and make the point that we could reduce our debt and improve our moral and financial standing by ending military aid to Israel.

7. Learn more about the prices and quantities of weapons transferred from the United States to Israel in the past decade (more than 670 million weapons!) and the devastating impact these weapons make on Palestinians living under Israel's brutal military occupation.

8. Sign up to arrange a local meeting with your Members of Congress during the August recess to discuss with them ending U.S. military aid to Israel and other policy issues.  We'll provide you with templates, suggested talking points, and memos for your meeting.

9. Help end U.S. military and diplomatic support for Israel that enables it to deny Palestinians their freedom and self-determination. Sign our petition telling the Obama Administration not to veto Palestinian UN membership.

10. Last, but not least "offset" the taxes you pay in weapons to Israel -- $21.59 for the average taxpayer this year -- by making a tax-deductible contribution to support our work to educate and organize even more people to end U.S. military aid to Israel.
Now more than ever, people in this country are concerned by the unsustainable level of government debt we are carrying.  Let's take action to educate, organize and mobilize to improve our country's financial and moral position by ending U.S. military aid to Israel

Thanks for taking action today!

Friday, July 8, 2011

U.S. Coalition Contributes to Global Military Embargo on Israel

Following is a media release distributed today by the US Campaign that appeared in several places, including the website of the Palestinian  BDS National Committee (BNC).

July 8, 2011

Washington, DC — The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (US Campaign) contributed today to the launch of a global military embargo campaign against Israel initiated by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions National Committee (BNC).

The BNC, inaugurating its campaign on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel, stated that:

“A comprehensive military embargo on Israel is long overdue. It would form a crucial step towards ending Israel’s unlawful and criminal use of force against the Palestinian people and other peoples and states in the region and would constitute an effective, non-violent measure to pressure Israel to comply with its obligations under international law.”

The US Campaign contributed to this global initiative today by launching its latest website: as part of its ongoing campaign to end more than $3 billion per year of U.S. military aid to Israel.


Fund Community Needs, Not Israel's Misdeeds!

Today, on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) issued a call to international civil society to join in a global military embargo of Israel.

Such an embargo would hasten the end of "Israel's unlawful and criminal use of force against the Palestinian people and other peoples and states in the region and would constitute an effective, non-violent measure to pressure Israel to comply with its obligations under international law," according to the BNC.

We couldn't agree more! Which is why we're excited to announce a new phase in our ongoing campaign to end U.S military aid to Israel as our contribution to this global initiative.

Today we're taking our campaign to your city! Check out our latest website dedicated to ending U.S. military aid to Israel.

You'll find all the ideas, resources, and inspiration you'll need to run an effective, long-term organizing campaign to get YOUR city council to pass a resolution to end U.S. weapons transfers to Israel and redirect that money to unmet needs in your community.

Here are a few reasons from our
Organizing How-To Guide why you should join us in this critical organizing campaign:

Above: Click to download a PDF of our Organizing How-To Guide.

You will raise awareness in your community about the moral and financial costs of U.S. military aid to Israel and how U.S. support enables Israel's human rights abuses of Palestinians, and in the process build your base of support.

You will build relations with allies in your community working on various social justice issues by including their issues of concern in your campaign.

You will create tangible political change by getting your local government to put itself on the record as preferring to fund unmet community needs rather than more weapons for Israel.

We've done all the research you'll need to make a compelling case to people in your community.  On our site we show you how much money your city provides in weapons to Israel and what community needs that money could be used for instead.

On our site we provide you with details on the weapons transferred to Israel by the United States and these weapons' devastating impact on Palestinians.

Check out today!  Download our Organizing How-To Guide and template resources, and sign up to organize your city to pass a resolution to end U.S. military aid to Israel.