Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Congressional Briefing: Examining Israel's discrimination against U.S. Citizens



On May 21, 2014, the US Campaign and a diverse group of organizations held a congressional briefing to raise awareness about Israel's discrimination against U.S. citizens.

Below are the testimonies from the briefing.

Yousef Munayyer - Part 1


Sandra Tamari - Part 2


Donna Nevel - Part 3


Nour Joudah - Part 4





Briefing Sponsors:


Israel's entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program
:
Examining discrimination against U.S. citizens 


Congressional Briefing
May 21st, 2014
12:00 - 1:30 pm
Russell Senate Office Building Room 485 (SR-485)

This briefing closely examined Israel's treatment of U.S. travelers as it relates to the Visa Waiver Program, U.S. - Israel treaty obligations, and American civil rights.  Two pieces of legislation currently before congress, the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act and the Visa Waiver for Israel Act, call for Israel's entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which would allow Israelis to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.

Over the last few decades, Israel has maintained a policy of discriminating against many U.S. travelers, particularly Americans of Arab or Muslim heritage.  The State Department recently expressed concern about Israel's unequal treatment of U.S. citizens and there are some indications that language seeking to codify Israel's discriminatory policies will be removed from the legislation.  Nonetheless, Members of Congress should be challenging Israel's discrimination against U.S. citizens rather than rewarding it with entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.

Panelists:

Yousef Munayyer is Executive Director of The Jerusalem Fund and its educational program, The Palestine Center. Prior to joining the Palestine Center Munayyer served as a Policy Analyst for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the nation’s largest Arab American membership organization.

Sandra Tamari is a Palestinian American community organizer with the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee.  She serves on the Steering Committee of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and is active with Quaker peace and justice efforts.  Sandra was imprisoned and banned from entry by Israel in May 2012 when she landed in Tel Aviv to participate in an interfaith study delegation.  

Donna Nevel is a community psychologist, educator, and writer whose work is rooted in Participatory Action Research (PAR) and popular education. She serves on the board of Jewish Voice for Peace, has been a long-time organizer for Palestinian-Israeli peace and justice, and works with groups to challenge Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism.

Nour Joudah has a Masters of Arts in Arab Studies from Georgetown University. Nour was living and teaching in Ramallah prior to a re-entry denial, and subsequent ban from traveling to Palestine-Israel. Nour is currently living and working in Washington, DC as the Assistant Editor at the Journal of Palestine Studies. 


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

10 Years Later: BDS Breaks Through! July 9 We Divest Day of Action

Mark your calendars! The We Divest Campaign has called for a national day of action on July 9, which marks the 10 year anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s historic ruling declaring Israel's wall on occupied Palestinian land to be illegal.

Below are materials to help with planning your day of action.

  • Not sure how you will participate? If you already have a local BDS campaign running, head to your target on July 9th. Don’t yet have a campaign? Here are some ideas: 
    • Go to your local TIAA-CREF office.
    • Head or to a place where one of our target companies has corporate offices or sells products. 
    • Focus on the company Elbit, in solidarity with Stop the Wall's month of action
    • Do a BDS tour: march around town to various stores that sell products from target companies. 
    • Go to a public place where there’s lots of foot traffic!
    • Don’t have a local group? No problem. Take action online by joining our social media team to be on call on July 9th.
  • Want to dance in a Pink Floyd-parody flash mob?  Below are lyrics, here is a recording of the song, and email info@wedivest.org for a video of the dance!
  • Want to connect with activists planning actions in other cities? Save the date for a national planning call on Monday, June 23, at 8:00pm EDT/5:00pm PDT. 
Will your group participate? Email info@wedivest.org to let us know!

Thanks,
We Divest Day of Action 2014 Coordinating Committee

Another Brick in the Wall

We don't need no occupation (Divest! Divest!)
We don't need no swat patrol  (Divest! Divest!)
Cat's bulldozing West Bank classrooms (Divest! Divest!)
That's not for the greater good 
Elbit Systems, Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett Packard, SodaStream
Hey, T-Cref, leave them kids alone!
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall 

We don't need no Northrop Grumman (Divest! Divest!)
Death and mayhem from above (Divest! Divest!)
Motorola's no Solution (Divest! Divest!)
For Palestine let's show some love
Northrop Grumman, Veolia, Sodastream, Elbit Systems, Caterpillar
Hey, T-Cref, your dollars flatten homes!
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall

We don't need Veolia Light Rail (Divest! Divest!)
Seizing East Jerusalem (Divest! Divest!)
Divest from Elbit's ammunition (Divest! Divest!)
And yes they helped to built the wall
Hewlett Packard, Northrop Grumman, Elbit Systems, Caterpillar, G4S
Hey, T-Cref, look how apartheid's grown!
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall
All in all we're gonna tear those bricks from the wall


Thursday, April 24, 2014

12 States Participate in Free Cone Day!

The following report back is by Mark Hage of member group Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel.

The second annual Free Cone Day leafleting action at Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops on Tuesday, April 8, organized by Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel (www.vtjp.org), was a great success.
Solidarity activists in at least 12 states (CA, CO, CT, NY, MA, MN, NC, NH, OR, NH, VT, and WA) distributed thousands of leaflets prepared by VTJP on Ben & Jerry’s commercial ties to illegal, Jewish-only settlements.

Additionally, 335 e-mails were sent to the company’s CEO, Jostein Solheim, on April 8, and in the two weeks leading up to FCD, more than 500 messages were e-mailed to him.

Your ice cream is free today – Palestine is not!

VTJP is still compiling reports on this year’s FCD action, and, in due course, we’ll post on our website a comprehensive summary of what transpired on April 8.

Here’s a sampling of what we’ve learned so far:

In San Jose, California, nearly 1,100 leaflets were handed out, and one of the activists shared an observation common to those who leafleted everywhere: “Most of the customers were pleasant, and many were interested to hear the information and take a leaflet.”

At least 1,000 more leaflets found their way into the hands of people at four scoop shops in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco. There, as in San Jose, most encounters with the public were friendly and, according to one of the activists, “Many were ignorant of the situation in [Israel-Palestine], so it was a wonderful opportunity for education.”

Our compatriots with the New England Palestine Education Network and Veterans for Peace in Manchester, New Hampshire, told us many people are surprised to learn that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is being sold in Israeli settlements.  VTJP activists have had the same experience frequently.

In Denver, a student activist was grateful for the opportunity to talk with people in his community about the Ben & Jerry’s campaign and the Israeli occupation generally.  He also appreciated the exposure this action generated for the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at the University of Colorado.

Members of Upper Hudson Peace Action's Palestinian Rights Committee leafleted outside a cone shop in Albany, New York, and held a sign that read: “Ben & Jerry’s: Yes in Albany. No in Illegal Israeli Settlements.”  They spoke with the shop manager, who was polite, said he knew why they were there, and invited them in for a free cone.

In Portland, Oregon, twelve volunteers from the local chapters of Jewish Voice for Peace, Portland Palestine Coalition, Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land, and Americans United for Equal Palestinian Rights passed out hundreds of leaflets and only two were dropped on the ground.

Jewish Voice for Peace activists in Tacoma, Washington, noted that not only were folks “willing to take the info, but the overwhelming majority left with leaflet still in hand!” The action also provided a great opportunity to reach a lot of young people.

In Vermont, there was leafleting at the two scoop shops in Burlington, including the one at the University of Vermont, and at the company’s factory in Waterbury. Members of VTJP’s BDS committee spoke with CEO Jostein Solheim and Rob Michalak, the head of the company’s Global Mission Office, when they dropped in at the scoop shop in downtown Burlington.

Ben & Jerry’s Campaign is Growing!

This FCD action saw many more activists, groups and scoop shops involved than last year.  Moreover, since last September, 220 organizations around the world have signed VTJP’s letter urging the company to stop doing business with Israeli settlements. We respectfully ask of organizations that have not done so to consider adding their names to the letter.

What began as a conversation in 2011 between a small band of activists in Vermont on how to contribute locally to the international BDS movement has grown into something much bigger than we could have imagined, and inspires us to keep organizing and engaging Ben & Jerry’s.

VTJP is deeply grateful for the support and counsel of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and its member groups, and to the Palestine solidarity community everywhere.

We are one year into this campaign, and there is still much work to be done.




Monday, March 31, 2014

Neil Young: Please Don't Play Israel

Canadian musician Neil Young is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv this upcoming July. As noted by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), Neil has been an "eager speaker in favor of the rights of the indigenous First Nations in Canada and has "vividly defended their right to resist oppression and exploitation."
PACBI and the broader BDS movement, representing the absolute majority of Palestinian civil society, appeal to you to respect our strategy of resistance and uphold the highest standard of respect for the human rights of the indigenous oppressed Palestinians people.  Brave decisions need to be taken in support of Palestinians exactly like you have supported the First Nations rights in Canada. Thus, the Palestinians call upon you to cancel your July 2014 performance in Tel Aviv
Take action below to send the message: Neil Young, Please Don't Play Israel!
  • Sign and share this petition from Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.
  • Click here to post this picture on your Facebook profile. Like "Neil Young, Tell Me Why You Would Play for Apartheid Israel."

  • On Twitter? Click on Tweet Now to automatically send a tweet that includes a link to more information about the campaign. You can also post messages on his Facebook page.
    • There's no Rockin' in the Free World for Palestinians @Neilyoung. Please cancel your concert in Israel (Tweet Now)
    • The Palestinian struggle is an indigenous struggle. Join them by cancelling your concert @Neilyoung (Tweet Now)
    • Have a heart of gold @Neilyoung. Stand with Palestinians by cancelling your concert #BDS (Tweet Now)
    • Students in Gaza to @Neilyoung: Stand on the right side of history. Stand with us. Don’t entertain apartheid Israel (Tweet Now)
    • More than 6,000 people are asking @Neilyoung to cancel Israel. Add your voice #BDS (Tweet Now)
    • #HonorTheBoycott @Neilyoung and cancel your concert entertaining occupation and apartheid #BDS (Tweet Now)
  • Watch and share Neil Young: Ohio-Palestine Mixtape from Independent Jewish Voices Canada. 


    Thursday, March 13, 2014

    Josh Ruebner's "Shattered Hopes" Book Tour Comes to Pennsylvania, Mar. 27- Apr. 1

    Last fall, Josh Ruebner, our National Advocacy Director, shared the exciting news of the publication of his first book, Shattered Hopes: Obama's Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace.



    We are excited to announce that he will be visiting Pennsylvania Thursday, March 27 to Tuesday, April 1. We hope that you can join him at one or more of the events he'll be doing-- at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, Friends of Sabeel Conference in Philadelphia, PA, Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, PA, University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, and Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA.

    Below is the flyer for the events. Click here for the PDF version.




    If you plan on attending the Friends of Sabeel Conference, please register here. RSVP and invite your friends on Facebook to Temple University here, Lutheran Theological Seminary here and for more information, call 717-334-3871, University of Pittsburgh here, and Pennsylvania State University here

    For additional information on Josh's spring book tour, see his website here. We look forward to seeing you there!

    --Ntebo Mokuena, U.S. Campaign Intern