Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Urgent: Anti-BDS Bill Up for Vote Tomorrow

We just learned that Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) will introduce an anti-BDS amendment to a bill in the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday. While the exact text isn’t public yet, the amendment will be similar to a bill—S.619, the United States-Israel Trade Enhancement Act of 2015—he introduced last month.

You can find the complete action alert here with talking points to call Senator Cardin here

After you call Senator Cardin, please also call the other members of the Senate Finance Committee. If your Senator is on the committee, make sure to mention you are a constituent.

Committee Leadership

Senator Orrin Hatch
(202) 224-5251

Senator Ron Wyden
(202) 224-5244

Republicans

Chuck Grassley, IA 
202-224-3744

Mike Crapo, ID 
(202) 224-6142

Pat Roberts, KS 
202-224-4774

Michael B. Enzi, WY 
(202) 224-3424

John Cornyn, TX 
202-224-2934

John Thune, SD 
(202) 224-2321

Richard Burr, NC 
(202) 224-3154

Johnny Isakson, GA 
(202) 224-3643

Rob Portman, OH 
202-224-3353

Patrick J.  Toomey, PA 
(202) 224-4254

Dan Coats, IN 
(202) 224-5623

Dean Heller, NV 
202-224-6244

Tim Scott, SC
(202) 224-6121

Democrats

Charles E. Schumer, NY 
(202) 224-6542

Debbie Stabenow, MI 
(202) 224-4822

Maria Cantwell, WA 
(202) 224-3441

Bill Nelson, FL 
202-224-5274

Robert Menendez, NJ 
202.224.4744

Thomas R. Carper, DE 
(202) 224-2441

Benjamin L. Cardin, MD 
(202) 224-4524

Sherrod  Brown, OH 
(202) 224-2315

Michael F. Bennet, CO 
202-224-5852

Robert P. Casey, Jr., PA 
(202) 224-6324

Mark R. Warner, VA
202-224-2023

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Dozens of Organizations Commend Virginia State Bar for Decision to Cancel Trip to Israel



April 1, 2015

Virginia State Bar
Mr. Kevin E. Martingayle, President
1111 East Main Street, Suite 700
Richmond, VA 23219-3565

Dear Mr. Martingayle,

We write to commend the Virginia State Bar for its decision to cancel its Midyear Legal Seminar in Jerusalem. By cancelling the planned seminar, the Virginia State Bar has reaffirmed its commitment to the principles of equality enshrined in U.S. law.

In thanking the Virginia State Bar, we agree with the sentiments expressed by Representative Keith Ellison in 2013 when he stated, “American citizens deserve to travel without fear of being turned away based on their race, religion, or countries they have visited.”

Israel’s routine discrimination against U.S. citizens entering Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory is both well documented and ongoing. In the process of denying entry to U.S. citizens, Israel often subjects them to humiliating searches, intensive interrogations, and invasions of personal privacy, including demanding access to private email accounts.

Those affected by Israel’s policies include
teachers, college students, world-renowned university professors, architects, clergy, interfaith delegations, people visiting sick relatives, married couples giving birth, humanitarian workers, human rights monitors, and descendants of signers of the U.S. constitution. In recent years, Israel’s refusal to end its discrimination against U.S. citizens prevented it from entering the Visa Waiver Program and prompted strong condemnations from lawmakers, the administration, and human rights organizations.

In March of 2014, State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “The Department of Homeland Security and State remain concerned with the unequal treatment that Palestinian Americans and other Americans of Middle Eastern origin experience at Israel’s border and checkpoints.”

In 2013, sixteen Members of Congress wrote to then-Israeli Ambassador Oren, saying, "we are concerned that Israeli border officials are disproportionally singling out, detaining, and denying entry to Arab and Muslim Americans." In their letter, Members of Congress quoted a spokesperson for Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who said, “we expect all American citizens to be accorded the rights that any other American citizen would be accorded...there are no second classes.”

As an association that prides itself on diversity and respect for equal rights, members of the Virginia State Bar should reasonably expect to have their civil rights upheld in the course of pursuing professional development opportunities. As you referenced in your cancellation notification, one additional issue with the planned seminar was the insufficient number of individuals who had signed-up to attend. In all likelihood, the low participation rate reflected a justifiable reluctance among practicing attorneys to subject themselves to mistreatment based on their race, religion, or political opinions. Had the gathering occurred as planned, some members of Virginia’s esteemed bar would have undoubtedly suffered discrimination and humiliation at the hands of Israeli border officials and possibly been denied entry outright.

Furthermore, given that membership in the Virginia State Bar is required for all practicing attorneys in the state, it is incumbent upon the association to avoid activities which may inherently discriminate against its members. Indeed, such action is required under the Virginia Human Rights Act and federal statutes governing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, and disability.

Again, we commend the Virginia State Bar for its commitment to upholding the civil rights of its diverse membership. We look forward to the day when everyone living in Israel/Palestine will enjoy equal treatment under the law regardless of race or religion; and all who desire to visit may do so without fear of discrimination or humiliation.

Sincerely,


American Muslims for Palestine
Christian Peacemaker Teams – Palestine
Friends of Sabeel North America
Institute for Policy Studies – New Internationalism Project
Jewish Voice for Peace
Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land
Methodist Federation for Social Action
National Lawyers Guild – International Committee
Palestine Solidarity Legal Support
Peace Action
United Methodist Kairos Response
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
US Palestinian Community Network


Local and Regional Organizations:
14 Friends of Palestine
Al-Nakba Awareness Project
Bay Area Women in Black
Birmingham Peace Project
Bryn Mawr Peace Coalition
Cape Codders for Peace and Justice
Carolina Peace Resource Center
Citizens for Justice in the Middle East – Kansas City
Coloradans for Justice in Palestine
Committee for Justice in Palestine at The Ohio State University
Committee for Palestinian Rights
Corvallis-Albany Friends of Middle East Peace
Friends of Palestine – Wisconsin
Hilton Head for Peace
Interfaith Council for Peace in the Middle East
Israel-Palestine Task Force, California Nevada Conference, United Methodist Church
Jews Say No, NYC
Jewish Voice for Peace – Bay Area Chapter
Jewish Voice for Peace – Boston Chapter
Jewish Voice for Peace – DC Metro Chapter
Jewish Voice for Peace – St. Louis Chapter
Massachusetts Peace Action
MidEast: Just Peace
Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign
Peace for Palestine – West Boston
St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee
Upper New York United Methodist Task Force on Israel Palestine
Vancouver for Peace

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Join One Book, Many Communities: Mornings in Jenin Campaign

Organize a Discussion in Your Community!     


US Campaign member group 
Librarians and Archivists with Palestine is excited to announce their newest campaign: "One Book, Many Communities: Mornings in Jenin." 

"One Book" is an international reading and discussion initiative drawing inspiration from the "one book, one town" idea that brings people together to talk about a common book. 

LAP has selected the historical saga Mornings in Jenin by Palestinian-American author and activist Susan Abulhawa as their first "One Book" title, and discussions will be held in January 2015 around the world.

Mornings in Jenin is a sweeping, heart-wrenching historical saga about four generations of the Abulheja family. From Jenin to Jerusalem to Beirut to Philadelphia, the novel follows the family from its displacement from Ein Hod village in 1948 through love and loss over decades of life in Palestine and the diaspora.


Can you organize or host a Mornings in Jenin discussion at your library, local bookstore, Students for Justice in Palestine chapter, school, place of worship, or home this January?

LAP has put together a toolkit to help you plan your event with ideas about how to hold great discussions that will spark interest in further exploration of Palestinian history and culture. They will also help with promotion by listing your event on their "One Book" site

You can purchase the book directly from Susan Abulhawa here and use the promo code "lap1book" for a discount. 

This is a great opportunity to create a broader awareness and understanding of Palestinian history and the struggle for self-determination. If you have ideas or questions, please email librarians2palestine@gmail.com.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Continuing Struggle for Palestinian Rights

The US Campaign held its 13th Annual National Organizers' Conference, The Mainstreaming of BDS & Continuing Struggle for Palestinian Rights, September 19-21 in San Diego.

Below is the recording of our closing panel The Continuing Struggle for Palestinian RightsPanelists shared their thoughts about moving forward following this year that has brought both so many important BDS wins but also yet another Israeli war on Gaza.

Speakers:

  • Christian Ramirez, Human Rights Director at Alliance San Diego
  • Reem Assil, Arab Resource & Organizing Center
  • Robin D.G. Kelley, serves on the Advisory Board of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel 
  • Hind Awwad, former coordinator with the Palestinian BDS National Committee
  • Moderator: Dina Omar, founding member of National Students for Justice in Palestine 

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

The Battle for Justice in Palestine

The US Campaign held its 13th Annual National Organizers' Conference, The Mainstreaming of BDS & Continuing Struggle for Palestinian Rights, September 19-21 in San Diego.

Below is the recording for our Saturday evening session featuring Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, and Tariq and Suha Abu Khdeir. Tariq’s beating by Israeli police while visiting family in Jerusalem made headlines back in July.