Showing posts with label settlements. Show all posts
Showing posts with label settlements. Show all posts

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Settlements Not a Problem According to Washington Post

The Washington Post Editorial Board started the New Year with an op-ed declaring that continued settlement expansion is not an obstacle to peace between Israelis and Palestinians and that the "overheated rhetoric" in reaction to the latest announcement of settlement construction is counterproductive to restarting negotiations. 
"The criticism is appropriate, in the sense that such unilateral action by Israel, like the unilateral Palestinian initiative to seek statehood recognition in November from the U.N. General Assembly, serves to complicate the negotiations that are the only realistic route to a Middle East peace. But the reaction is also counterproductive because it reinforces two mistaken but widely held notions: that the settlements are the principal obstacle to a deal and that further construction will make a Palestinian state impossible."
So the WP editors would have their readers believe that continued colonization of Palestinian land by Israel is not really an issue, and that it is imperative that the Security Council pressure the Palestinians to stop using settlements as an excuse to not getting back to negotiations. Guess their New Year's resolution is to promote hasbara talking points even more prominently. 

We would like to thank the WP editors for informing us of the fallacy of our efforts to end US support for Israeli occupation and apartheid, support that includes more than $3 billion in military aid annually and diplomatic protection at the United Nations by vetoing resolutions condemning continued settlement action. Apparently it is the oppressed Palestinian people who should be pressed to accommodate Israeli impunity, and that is how peace will happen. And don't mind the settlements. It's not like settlers have been committing acts of violence and vandalism against Palestinians without any consequence. 

You can send a letter to the editor- less than 200 words- to Also sign up to organize to end military aid to Israel

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Boycot Israeli Occupation Dates

During Ramadan, which begins tomorrow, Muslims around the world will break their daily fast on dates.  Our member group American Muslims for Palestine just launched a campaign to ensure that this tradition does not inadvertently support the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Over half of the world's medjool dates, the most popular commercial variety, are grown in Israel, primarily in illegal West Bank settlements built on occupied Palestinian land. Moreover, Israeli dates are often harvested by Palestinians who suffer from unfair labor practices.  Marketed by the Israeli company Hadilklaim under brand names including Jordan River, Jordan River-Bio Tops and King Solomon, these dates are exported around the world, providing Israeli exporters with annual profits of $265 million.

In accordance with Palestinian civil society's 2005 call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), people of conscience around the world are boycotting Hadilklaim dates in solidarity with the millions of Palestinians oppressed by Israeli apartheid.  Join us in refusing to support the Israeli occupation by boycotting Hadilklaim dates! Learn more about dates, the Israeli occupation, and BDS here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

So Apparently There is No Occupation...

We at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation work to end U.S. support for Israel's 45-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. But according to a recent Israeli panel, we, and the international community, seem to have it all wrong.

"Dad, what's beyond that wall?" "I don't see any wall, dear son"
"Come on, it's right there" "Just shut up" (Amir Schiby)
An Israeli government-appointed commission of jurists said Monday that Israel’s presence in the West Bank was not occupation and recommended that the state approve scores of unauthorized Jewish settlement outposts there.
"The classical laws of 'occupation' as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to the unique and sui generis historic and legal circumstances of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria spanning over decades," the report stated, leading to the conclusion that "according to international law, Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria."
Perhaps to make it very clear how unconcerned the commission was with the reaction of the international community, the report was published on the anniversary of the July 9, 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, which determined that Israel’s construction of the wall deep into the West Bank violated international law. 

Of course who can blame the Israeli government for thinking it can flout international law without consequence? The commission's recommendation to legalize settlements goes against decades of
stated U.S. opposition to settlements. Since 1967 every U.S. administration has upheld the illegality of Israel's settlements, decried them as obstacles to peace, and urged Israel to not expand them. Yet for some reason the United States continues to send Israel billions of dollars in military aid as well as protect Israel from censure at the United Nations. 

When the issue was brought up at yesterday State Department
daily press briefing, the usual "concern" was shown. 
QUESTION: Just also on this topic, there’s an Israeli Government appointed committee which was looking into - was asked to look into the legality of the settlements and has come forth with a ruling saying that they believe that essentially these settlements should be authorized, which is the Prime Minister’s position. The Israeli Government hasn’t accepted this ruling yet, but that sort of stands ready to be accepted. Do you guys take any view on this sort of creeping legalization of the settlement process? And is this useful at this point ahead of Deputy Secretary Burns and the Secretary’s trip to Israel? Is this the kind of thing that you like to see happening? 
MR. VENTRELL: Well, I mean, Andy, you know where we are on - the U.S. position on settlements is clear. Obviously, we’ve seen the reports that an Israeli Government appointed panel has recommended legalizing dozens of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts.
QUESTION: So you would be - you would urge the Government of Israel not to accept this panel’s recommendation?
MR. VENTRELL: Well, again, my understanding is this is still - I’m not sure if this is in a draft form, but this is just a panel recommendation at this point.
QUESTION: And the Israeli Government can either accept it or not accept it. What do --
MR. VENTRELL: You know where the U.S. position is, which I just read out. So --
QUESTION: Is that going to be something that Deputy Burns brings up when he’s in Israel?
MR. VENTRELL: I’m not sure. I can’t read out his meetings in advance. But --
QUESTION: Understand. But you don’t think this rises to the level of a senior official discussing it with the Israeli --
MR. VENTRELL: Again, I don’t want to read out his meetings in advance. Let’s --
QUESTION: Well, is it something that you can say that you’re sufficiently concerned about that --
MR. VENTRELL: We’re concerned about it, obviously. The Deputy Secretary will be en route, and let’s see how his meetings go and see if we can report back to you when they’re over.
QUESTION: All right.
QUESTION: A quick follow-up on this. When you express your concern, is it just done from this podium, or is it done officially? Does someone pick up the phone and talk to someone in the Israeli Government and say we express displeasure?
MR. VENTRELL: I don’t know if we have raised this directly with the Israeli Government. I just read out our position here from the podium. I can check and see if our Embassy has raised it.
The Israeli government may claim that there is no occupation, but there are millions of Palestinians suffering daily under Israeli military rule and it is U.S. money that funds their oppression. 
You see? I told you there's no occupation!
You can help end harmful U.S. policies by joining us at our 11th Annual National Organizers' Conference September 21-23, signing up to organize opposition to military aid for Israel, or supporting our work. 

You can find more "nonexistent occupation" memes here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How exactly is Israel supposed to change its behavior?

Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director of our member group The Palestine Center, writes this piece on why BDS is the way to bring about peace and justice in Palestine/Israel: 

Last week the Israeli prime minister, with the help of Washington, made one of the strongest cases for the need for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in the wake of an Israeli court decision regarding an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. By demonstrating that twenty years of ‘peace process’ policies have yielded an Israeli government drunk on settlements, Netanyahu’s statement and the United States’ reaction should convince any remaining doubters that BDS is an urgently necessary alternative. 
Netanyahu laid bare to the world precisely why negotiations with his government are a colossal and counterproductive waste of time and anyone—namely the United States government—supporting such a path might well be delusional: "The State of Israel is a law-abiding democracy and as the Prime Minister of Israel I am committed to upholding the law and am I committed to uphold the settlement enterprise, and I tell you that there is no contradiction between the two." 
Continue Reading at The Daily Beast 
Munayyer concludes that it "defies logic to expect Israel’s colonialist behavior to change without pressure and it is more evident than ever that the Israeli government is perfectly comfortable with colonialism and that Washington doesn’t have a problem with it either. Nonetheless, the pressure must come from somewhere." 

We at the US Campaign fully agree that as long as the U.S. government continues funding Israel's occupation and apartheid policies against Palestinians, it is up to us to engage in grassroots efforts like BDS to pressure Israel to change its behavior. There are several ways you can help out:

1. Check out the various BDS campaigns you can join

2. Sign up to help organize opposition to military aid for Israel

3. Join us in St. Louis September 21-23, 2012 for our 11th Annual National 
    Organizers' Conference.

Friday, June 1, 2012

45 Years of Occupation

June 5, 2012 marks the 45th anniversary of the start of the 1967 War, when Israel launched a surprise attack against Egypt and Syria and began its military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and Syrian Golan Heights.

The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) has put together a fact sheet that provides an overview of Israel's 45-year occupation of Palestinian territories and its settlement enterprise. 

The sheet includes facts and figures about settler violence, Palestinian prisoners and home demolitions carried out by Israel. There are also links to maps showing the continuing expansion of settlements and the route of the separation wall. 

This is a great resource to help in your efforts to change U.S. policy toward Palestine-Israel. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Palestine Center: When Settlers Attack

US Campaign member group The Palestine Center published an important study today, entitled "When Settlers Attack." Check out the press release and link to the report:

The Palestine Center Releases Report on Israeli Settler Violence

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 
The Palestine Center Releases Report on Israeli Settler Violence
Contact: Yousef Munayyer
            (202) 338-1958       

WASHINGTON, D.C. (14 February 2012) - Today the Palestine Center released a comprehensive report on Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians and their property in the West Bank. The report, "When Settlers Attack," is comprised of data gathered over a span of seven years, from 2004 to 2011, that includes over 3,700 separate incidents of settler violence. It provides analysis as to why, how and when Israeli settler violence occurs. 

The Palestine Center found that there has been a steady increase of Israeli settler attacks against Palestinian civilians over the past five years and that they are increasingly occurring in the northern West Bank targeting rural villages. Every year, the Palestinian olive harvest period sees the highest peak in attacks on Palestinian civilians. The report determines that the majority of Israeli settler violence is not ‘price tag’ or responsorial in nature, but is structural and a symptom of the occupation. Over 90 percent of Palestinian areas that experience multiple incidents of settler violence are under Israeli security jurisdiction. 

“The dramatic rise in settler violence in the last several years demands investigation and analysis into why this happens. We believe our report is the most comprehensive undertaking regarding settler violence and we hope it can move the general discussion about this important issue forward while also advancing policy formulation aimed at ending settler violence and protecting Palestinian civilians and their property” said Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director of the Palestine Center. 

He continued, “With a 300 percent+ increase in settler violence of the past five years and nearly 2.7 incidents per day in 2011, settler violence presents a daily challenge to Palestinians. In this study, we test explanations for settler violence and ultimately put forward recommendations on how to address it.”
Find the report here:

For more information on this report or Israeli settler violence, contact Yousef Munayyer at, call             202-338-1290       or


The Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that maintains three programs. The Palestine Center hosts educational briefings and publishes analysis of the Palestinian experience and U.S. policy in the region. The Humanitarian Link provides short-term grants on a quarterly basis to humanitarian organizations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and surrounding refugee camps. The Jerusalem Fund Gallery hosts art exhibits, workshops, film screenings, concerts and more that showcase the rich artistic heritage of the region.

Take Action on Valentine's Day: No LOVE in Occupation!

Below are three simple actions to take part in today's Valentine's Day Stolen Beauty Campaign Day of Action, courtesy of CodePink, a US Campaign member group... the queens of creative tactics and online activism!

Take action today, Valentine's Day, to ask Bed, Bath & Beyond to stop breaking Palestinian hearts. The big box retailer carries Ahava cosmetics and SodaStream products. Both Ahava and SodaStream are subject to international boycott campaigns because their production facilities are based in illegal West Bank settlements and because of other illicit practices.

1. Go to the Bed, Bath & Beyond web site and leave a customer comment. You can write your own comment, or cut and paste this one:
I notice that you sell Ahava and SodaStream. Both products are made in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Ahava is made with mud pillaged from the occupied shores of the Dead Sea. Both products are subject to international boycott campaigns due to their illicit practices. This Valentine's Day, have a heart and please stand for human rights and international law. Stop selling Ahava and SodaStream. Occupation profiteering is ugly. 

2. Join our Valentine's Day Twitter campaign to tell @bedbathbeyond to stop selling Ahava and SodaStream. Here are some sample tweets!:
#Valentine's Day wish: @bedbathbeyond will drop settlement products #Ahava & #SodaStream. #BDS @stopsodastream

Valentine's Day: Tell @BedBathBeyond to drop #Ahava & #SodaStream Occupation is ugly. #BDS @boycottahava
More sample tweets & details on the one-day twitter-a-thon can be found here.

3. Watch and share the Brides Boycott Ahava and SodaStream video, which has over 56,000 hits on YouTube.

Last month Ahava suffered a bad press bonanza as prominent U.K. scientists, filmmakers and academics penned a letter calling on London's Natural History Museum to halt its nanotechnology research collaboration with the illegal settlement profiteer. The letter received prominent coverage in major newspapers and science journals, dragging Ahava's name yet again through its own stolen mud.

SodaStream recently announced they would be opening a new factory in the Negev, but that they will keep open their plant in the settlement of Mishor Adumim. The new plant is a needed expansion of capacity because of increased sales, but it is also a public relations ploy allowing them to say that some of their products are made within Israel. We need to keep the pressure on so that they see the benefit of shutting down the Mishor Adumim plant.
Ahava products are manufactured in settlements
on stolen Palestinian land
Thanks for taking action to support human rights and international law on this Valentine's Day!

For more information and ideas for taking action, click here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Anti-BDS campaigner out of step with pro-BDS consensus of her Catholic order

As Mondoweiss' Alex Kane reports, in upcoming assemblies of the national United Methodist and Presbyterian church bodies, leading the fight against resolutions of divestment from companies profiting from Israel's occupation and settlements will be Sister Ruth Lautt, the national director of Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East (CFWME), and a member of the Dominican sisters order of nuns (Roman Catholic).

Kane's investigation of donation tax records to CFWME show that the organization's funders are also linked to illegal West Bank settlements. The settlement-funders who contribute to CFWME stand in stark contrast to the Dominican order's position on Israel/Palestine. The order's "call to justice" which Lautt's New York-based branch signed onto, calls for prayer and support for the Palestinian United Nations bid for statehood. It also expresses firm support for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. The website Dominican Life USA provides access to US Campaign resources.

Kane gathered some insight from David Wildman, who serves on the US Campaign's Steering Committee and as Executive Secretary for Human Rights and Racial Justice with the United Methodist Church's Board of Global Ministries:
“It gears itself, I think, towards otherwise liberal congregations” ... Wildman, a critic of CFWME, also described the organization as an “attack group” that seeks to “block other efforts at achieving a just peace.”

Christian group dedicated to derailing divestment bankrolled by settler-funding philanthropy

by Alex Kane on January 5, 2012

When United Methodists converge on Tampa, Florida this Spring, and the Presbyterian Church (USA) holds its general assembly in early July, the question of divestment from companies that profit off of the Israeli occupation will once again attract significant attention. Delegates at these church wide meetings will be confronted by an array of attacks on any resolution that promotes divestment as one route to pressure Israel and its control over the occupied Palestinian territories. And a familiar face to the delegates will be leading the fight against these resolutions: Sister Ruth Lautt, the national director of Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East (CFWME).

Lautt is a member of the Dominican sisters order of nuns (Roman Catholic) and a former lawyer. Her organization, which she runs on her own (though there is a board), says it “advocate[s]” for “fairness” in American church dealings related to Israel/Palestine. In practice, this has meant leading delegations to Israel, promoting “positive investment” in the region instead of divestment, and working “behind-the-scenes” at religious conventions, “helping opponents of divestment draft motions [and] applying persuasion at the subcommittee and committee levels,” as the New York Times has reported.

But an analysis of donations to the organization reveals a much more complicated picture that raises questions about CFWME’s professed mission and their role in church politics on Israel. My investigation of donation tax records to CFWME show that the organization's budget has more than doubled since its founding through the support of funders linked to illegal West Bank settlements and promoting Islamophobia in the U.S.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Activists Call on Fashion Icon to Sever Ties with Lev Leviev

In November, US Campaign coalition member groups Adalah-NY, CODEPINK, and Jewish Voice for Peace, along with human rights organizations in the UK, called on fashion icon Daphne Guinness and Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) to sever ties with Israeli settlement builder and conflict diamond purveyor Lev Leviev. Leviev is a principal sponsor of Ms. Guinness’s current fashion exhibition at FIT.

In an open letter to Guinness and FIT, the groups detailed Leviev’s sordid complicity in a multitude of human rights abuses that have led a number organizations and governments to distance themselves from Leviev’s companies. Citing Guinness’s own humanitarian work, the groups implored Guinness to sever all ties with Leviev:

We recognize your strong commitment to supporting women’s rights around the world, to countering AIDS in Africa and to helping the needy in places like Haiti. Therefore, like the organizations, governments and individuals who have sought distance from Leviev, we feel confident that you do not wish to tarnish your name and good works by associating yourself with Leviev’s companies’ human rights violations and questionable business practices. Leviev’s companies undermine the very rights and humanitarian causes that you support. Therefore, we call on you to act swiftly to sever all ties between the exhibit at FIT that bears your name, and Lev Leviev.
Representatives of Guinness and FIT have responded by saying they are taking the groups’ concerns into account, but have thus far failed to elaborate a further course of action. The petition calling on Guinness and FIT to sever ties with Leviev has generated a fair amount of negative publicity for all involved. Online stories detailing Leviev’s sponsorship of the exhibition have been featured on prominent sites like New York magazine, Vogue UK, and Jezebel, the influential feminist blog. The exhibition runs through January 17th, 2012.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Flash mob in El Cerrito, CA Bed Bath & Beyond protests Soda Stream

A flash mob in an El Cerrito, CA branch of Bed Bath & Beyond this month protested the store's sales of Soda Stream, a soft drink product made in an illegal settlement with exploited Palestinian labor.

The approximately two dozen protesters wore shirts emblazoned with ""Boycott Israel 'til Palestine is Free," and sang and chanted in the Bed Bath & Beyond before moving outside to march and hand out fliers.  The store called the police, who declined to interfere, saying the protesters would leave soon without causing harm.  The flash mob included several members of US Campaign ember groups such as NorCal Friends of Sabeel, Bay Area Jewish Voice for Peace and CODEPINK.

A video of the Bed Bath & Beyond flash mob can be seen here:

Read about other activities of our member groups here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

APN Joins Peace Now's Call for Boycotting Settlements

By Ori Nir on July 19, 2011

Washigton, DC - Today the Board of Directors of Americans for Peace Now met in a special session to discuss Israel's new anti-boycott law.  In the session the board unanimously adopted the following position:  APN's Board wholeheartedly endorses Peace Now's campaign to challenge the new law and joins in their call for a boycott of products made in settlements.

APN President and CEO Debra DeLee commented:

"The actions of our Board today underscore the seriousness of the threat today to Israel's democracy.  The new law passed by the Knesset is a travesty of democracy.  APN proudly supports our colleagues in the Israeli Peace Now movement as they lead domestic efforts to challenge the new law.  They understand what this law means for Israel and for their future as Israelis.  They know that it is not just their own ability to fight for peace, but also the very soul of Israel, that it is at stake.
"APN continues to oppose boycotts and other forms of BDS against Israel and the Israeli people as a whole, and urges people to continue buying Israeli products.  However, today it is clear that Israeli extremists are exploiting concerns about BDS, turning them into a pretext to effectively outlaw peaceful opposition to settlements and the occupation.  In light of these attacks, no one who cares about Israel can afford to be squeamish about the issue of settlement boycotts.   
"Today we join Peace Now in urging all those who care about Israel's character as a democracy to boycott settlements and products made in settlements.  Settlements are not Israel.  Such a boycott is the best way to show our support for Israel and to register our commitment to Israeli democracy."
"Like Peace Now, we recognize that fundamentally this new law is not about boycotts or even, truly, about settlements.  It is about stifling dissent, smothering activism, and suppressing freedom of expression.  We also know that this flagrant attack on the basic democratic value of freedom of expression is not an isolated case.  Tomorrow the Knesset will consider an anti-democratic measure that would set up McCarthy-ite committees to investigate Israeli non-governmental organizations.  Multiple other pieces of pending legislation seek to suffocate the Israeli civil society organizations that are most critical to preserving Israel's democracy - groups working to promote peace, human rights, and civil rights within Israel.
"All of us who love Israel - who love the people of Israel and who are deeply committed to ensuring a future for them in the Jewish and democratic state of Israel - must speak out and act to protest these attacks on Israel's democracy." 


Monday, March 28, 2011

Israeli Knesset adopts law criminalizing boycott, targeting Palestinian citizens

Who Is Annexing Whom?

By Uri Avnery
March 27, 2011

In a rare late-night session, the Knesset has finally adopted two obnoxious racist laws. Both are clearly directed against Israel’s Arab citizens, a fifth of the population.

The first makes it possible to annul the citizenship of persons found guilty of offences against the security of the state. Israel prides itself on having a great variety of such laws. Annulling citizenship on such grounds is contrary to international law and conventions.

The second is more sophisticated. It allows communities of less than 400 families to appoint "admission committees" which can prevent unsuitable persons from living there. Very shrewdly, it specifically forbids the rejection of candidates because of race, religion etc. - but that paragraph is tantamount to a wink. An Arab applicant will simply be rejected because of his many children or lack of military service.


But far worse is a third law that is certain to pass its final stages within a few weeks: the law to outlaw the boycott of the settlements.


As it stands now, the law will punish any person or association publicly calling for a boycott of Israel - economic, academic or cultural. "Israel", according to this law, means any Israeli enterprise or person, in Israel or in any territory controlled by Israel. Simply put: it is all about the settlements. And not only about the boycott of the products of the settlements, which was initiated by Gush Shalom some 13 years ago, but also about the recent refusal of actors to perform in the settlement of Ariel and the call by academics not to support the so-called University Center there. It also applies, of course, to any call for the boycott of an Israeli university or an Israeli commercial enterprise.

This is a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation: it is anti-democratic, discriminatory, annexationist, and altogether unconstitutional.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Open the Al-Bweira Roads

Upper Hudson Peace Action is asking members of the US Campaign to pick up their pens and phones to help open the road to the West Bank town of Al-Bweira. This is one more step in our effort to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Forcing emergency vehicles to take a time consuming, five kilometer detour over rough, rutted
roads in order to reach your home could be more than an inconvenience
when you’re waiting for them to arrive. But thanks to the Israeli Army’s
triple blockade of the Al-Bweira Road, that’s how it’s been for more than ten years in the Palestinian farming neighborhood of Al-Bweira.

Help the effort to gain quick access for emergency vehicles. Help the families in Al-Bweira so they can again drive directly to or from the near-by city of Hebron. A ten-year blockade of this community is ten too many years!
Please write to:
Major General Avi Mizrahi
Office of Central Command ’64
Military Postal #02367
5741 Israel
(Fax: 011-972-2-530-5741)
Or contact:
Ambassador Michael Oren
Embassy of Israel
3514 International Drive, NW
Washington, DC 20008
(Phone: 202-364-5500)
Click here to learn more and find out how a few minutes of your time can help unlock the gate, roll away the boulder, remove the mound of earth and stones and reopen the road for all the people living in Al-Bweira.
Please send copies of correspondence to: Upper Hudson Peace Action, Palestinian Rights Committee, 33 Central Avenue, Albany, NY 12210.