Friday, July 31, 2009
"Motorola has been active in Israel since 1964; it currently provides the IDF with a cellular network through a subsidiary, MIRS. MIRS provided the IDF with a military-encrypted cellular communication system, nicknamed "Mountain Rose," which is worth $100 million and was especially constructed for field conditions. The company's radar detectors' and surveillance systems have been reportedly installed in West Bank settlements....Motorola was previously boycotted due to its support for the apartheid regime in South Africa. The company supplied South African police with mobile radio transmitters used to suppress demonstrations against the government."Now, US Campaign member group CODEPINK Women for Peace has gained Israeli media attention with a Washington, DC protest of Ahava beauty products, as part of their "Stolen Beauty" campaign. Ahava makes products using minerals from the Dead Sea and has a factory and a visitors center in the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem, which, like all Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, is illegal under international law. CODEPINK's Washington, DC action got coverage in YNetNews, the online version of the most read Israeli newspaper. CODEPINK members had the chance to explain their campaign to the Israeli public, although the YNet editors couldn't restrain themselves from putting quotes around Israeli occupation:
"Rae Abileah, a member of the movement who took part in the protest, said they are leading an international campaign against the company's products, in protest of their production in the "occupied Palestinian territory". Abileah added that it is immoral and unethical to purchase or distribute products that carry such a very heavy price tag and make their profit from the occupation. She said they had entered cosmetics stores and handed the managers letters with factual information on Ahava's production process, and demanded they stop selling these products, since it is against the Geneva Convention."This media coverage is great news for the movement for human rights and international law in Israel/Palestine, but it's not enough. How can you get involved? First of all, take a look at the database of BDS news that we're aggregating on our website. We update this regularly, along with our US Campaign in the News and Apartheid in the News sites, so it's a great way to stay abreast of the discourse surrounding boycott and divestment. Next, check out our ongoing campaigns against Motorola and Caterpillar. Sign up to be a local organizer, sign a boycott pledge, or plan an action at a local phone store or CAT dealer. And check out the BDS actions that member groups like CODEPINK and Adalah-NY are doing as well. Finally, consider coming to our National Organizers' Conference in Chicago on September 12-13. We'll be discussing the current state of our boycott and divestment work, and how to move forward as a coalition. If you're a member of an organization, check and see if your organization is a member of the US Campaign. If not, encourage them to join and send delegates to the conference. You can also click here for resources on how to start a group! Join the conversation. Join the struggle. Join the fun!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Ben Gurion, the Old City, and Bethlehem prison--an update from the US Campaign/IFPB Delegation in Israel/Palestine
"We invite delegation participants to comment on and react to the experiences they have during our Israel/Palestine delegations in written Trip Reports. Individual delegates contribute pieces to these reports. As such, reports are not comprehensive accounts of every meeting or experience, but impressions of those things that most impact individuals. Trip reports to not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Peace-Builders, trip leaders, or delegation partner organizations. We hope you enjoy reading and we encourage you to share these reports with others."Check out the first report from the delegation by clicking here, and read a more detailed report from US Campaign National Organizer Katherine Fuchs here.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
"The people that attended the rally think that occupying another people and chanting racist slurs at the first black president of the United States (who was elected by a majority of American Jews who support him) is their expression of freedom and democracy....Most people we talked to did not hesitate to attack Obama and his administration, of which many are Jews themselves. The general atmosphere of the rally was that Obama is a Muslim and a racist who denies the Jewish people their right to control the Land of Israel. When asked about American aid to Israel, most replied that this was a separate issue [emphasis added]."Check it out: The Israeli right wants to have it both ways--massive U.S. financial and political support, but no pressure from the United States to end Israel's 42-year occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. We need to put pressure on our members of Congress and organize in our local communities to hold Israel accountable for the violations of human rights and international law that are enabled by our U.S. tax dollars. Manal Tellawi presents another view on the growing settlements at A Different Perspective on the Middle East:
"Removing settlements may not be as hard as some people make it out to be. There are settlers who indeed believe that they live on Palestinian land, and their primary motive for moving to the West Bank was not an aggressive one or a desire to fulfill the dream of a greater Israel. These are points we must disclose to others, especially to those individuals who argue that the future borders of the Israeli state must include a handful of settlements along the western border of the West Bank. We must urge our politicians to lobby for U.S. support of the application of the 4th Geneva Conventions in the occupied territories, and as President Obama has stated on numerous occasions, to demand an end to all Israeli settlement construction, without exceptions for “natural growth.”"We can change U.S. policy in the Middle East, but without pressure on our elected representatives and in our local communities, settlements will continue to expand, military aid will continue to pour in--and prospects for a just peace in Israel/Palestine will continue to fade.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Interfaith Peace-Builders and US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation Delegation Arrives in Israel/Palestine
The purpose of this delegation, the 31st to make the trip since 2001, is to educate North American citizens about the region and deepen their understanding of its conflicts. This is the second delegation that IFPB and USC have co-sponsored since 2008.
The delegation focuses on the role of the United States in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Over the next ten days, the group will meet civil society leaders, activists and experts who will explain the role of US military, humanitarian and diplomatic aid in the region. Participants will analyze the US role in a comparative framework and examine the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the light of other historical conflicts such as apartheid South Africa and the Jim Crow South. Delegates will also hear from Palestinian and Israeli peace-builders and nonviolent activists promoting peace and reconciliation.
Despite positive rhetoric from the Obama administration, US military aid to the region continues to flow unabated. Participants on this delegation have the unique opportunity to hear directly from Palestinians and Israelis regarding their hopes for peace and the role of the US government in promoting a resolution to the conflict.
The delegation includes the following people:
Tovio Asheeke - Richmond, IN Tasneem Bootwala - Los Angeles, CA Katherine Fuchs (co-leader) - Washington, DC Steve Gilliland - Lakewood, CA Cindy Howard - Lees' Summit, MO Jeff Kipilman - Portland, OR Samya Kullab - Toronto, ON Jen Lauda - Alexandria, VA Michelle Lee - Hyde Park, MA Shannon Little - Santa Barbara, CA Kristin Loken - Falling Waters, WV Paula Martens - Nashville, TN Dave Matos - Aiken, SC Christoph Osterberg - Kassel, Germany Nancy Paraskevopoulos - Cincinnati, OH Emily Siegel - Washington, DC Laurie Siegel - Washington, DC Mark Smith - Edinburg, UK Jerry Stinson - Long Beach, CA Shakeel Syed (co-leader) - Culver City, CA Brandon West - Philadelphia, PA Cynthia Wilson - Washington Court House, OH Inanna Younan - Chicago, IL
Interfaith Peace-Builders and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation believe in the power of eye-witness experience and transformation. Given the opportunity to speak directly with Israelis and Palestinians, delegates return to the United States better informed, more energized, and with a deeper understanding of the possibilities for true justice in the Middle East.
Upon their return to the United States, delegates will share their experiences with the public, the media, and their political representatives.
Media interested in interviewing the participants when they return, and groups wanting information about speaking engagements, should contact Interfaith Peace-Builders at media [at] ifpb [dot] org or 202.244.0821.
Keep an eye on the US Campaign blog and the IFPB website for updates from the delegation.
You can also keep up with the delegation by following the US Campaign on Twitter.
Monday, July 27, 2009
"My colleagues and I invested time and energy in this difficult journey and put our lives at risk because for too long the international community has been complicit in Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people. For too long, diplomats and world leaders have paid lip service to Palestinian human rights. For too long, the Palestinian people have been told to wait--wait in the checkpoint line, wait on the peace process, wait to have your rights recognized, wait for freedom"To read the full article, click here.
Friday, July 24, 2009
"Protesters in the New York borough of Queens held a rally last week to call for a boycott of Motorola over the firm's business dealings with the Israel Defense Forces. At the demonstration, which was organized by the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, protestors waved Palestinian flags and signs saying: "Goodbye Moto, Goodbye Apartheid," and "Boycott Motorola, Free Palestine." The groups the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the Palestinian National Committee and other organizations worldwide also support a boycott of the phone company"Rob Browne hits the mark at Mondoweiss with his discussion of the need for Obama to set a deadline on Israeli compliance with a settlement freeze:
"It is now time to for Obama to stop listening and start acting, otherwise these "experts" and "leaders" will continue to find new and destructive ways of playing out the clock."Helena Cobban engages in an in-depth exploration of "how occupations end" at Talking Points Memo:
"Now, we know much better than we did six years years ago what occupation is, and what it always involves: bullying; mass incarcerations; the sowing of tensions through divide-and-rule policies; and the spreading of hatred, domination, and fear. We are, finally, bringing our occupation of Iraq to an end. Israel needs to end its long-lived attempts to stay in the OPTs and in Syria's Golan."Also at Talking Points Memo, M.J. Rosenberg has an interesting perspective on the links between Obama's attempts to stand firm on health care and settlements:
"The word from the Israeli right is that their best hope of prevailing over the President is by stalling. They are watching Obama's poll numbers, praying the health reform bill collapses and with it Obama's popularity. Then they will enlist the still reluctant Israel lobby to pressure Congressional Democrats to support Netanyahu."And John Dugard has a great op-ed in the New York Times on why--and how--the International Criminal Court should take on the case of Israeli war crimes in Gaza:
"A decision by the I.C.C. to investigate whether crimes were committed in Gaza, in the course of Israel's offensive, would... give the I.C.C. an opportunity to show that it is not infected by a double standard and that it is willing to take action against international crimes committed outside Africa."What could be better than all this great coverage? Eyewitness reporting from the US Campaign/Interfaith Peace-Builders delegation to Israel/Palestine, of course! Stay tuned on the US Campaign blog for reports and posts from delegation members including US Campaign National Organizer Katherine Fuchs.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
"Amid growing tension between Jerusalem and Washington, the IDF and Defense Ministry have held brainstorming sessions to discuss the possibility that the United States would cut military aid to Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.On Tuesday night, senior Defense Ministry and IDF officers gathered in Tel Aviv for a discussion on US-Israeli relations, during which they discussed new Pentagon regulations regarding the way Israel can use the almost $3 billion in military aid it receives from the US."It's long past time that we bring a conversation that is happening in Israeli Defense Ministry meetings and on the streets of Jerusalem into the halls of Congress. Click here to schedule a meeting with your elected representatives during the August Congressional recess, and let them know that you're tired of your tax money paying for the Israeli military's violations of international law and human rights. Tell them you want your tax money going to health care, education, housing--anything other than sponsoring war and occupation. Click here to sign up for a meeting today.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
"The UK says it does not sell weapons which might be used for internal repression or external aggression. ...The British government has been challenged by human rights groups and members of the UK parliament over concerns raised by Amnesty International that British-made equipment was used illegally in Gaza."Read the full article here. Amnesty's initial report on Israel's "Operation Cast Lead" was entitled "Fuelling conflict: Foreign arms supplies to Israel/Gaza," and is available here. The report outlined the significant role that U.S. arms, including white phosphorous shells, played in the the destruction of the Gaza Strip. More recently, Amnesty has issued a report outlining accusations of war crimes committed by the Israeli military and Hamas forces during "Operation Cast Lead." Given the significant role that U.S.-provided weapons played in Israel's brutal 22 day attack on the Gaza Strip, and given that U.S. law prohibits countries receiving U.S. weapons from using them in acts of aggression, the sort of pressure that has been brought to bear on the British government can and must be applied to the U.S. government. Click here to sign up to organize a meeting with your Member of Congress in August to tell them that the U.S. government should cut and condition military aid to Israel as long as it continues to be used to violate U.S. law, international law, and Palestinian human rights. You can also watch Democracy Now cover the story here:
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
"The debate over Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories is often framed in terms of whether they should be "frozen" or allowed to grow "naturally." But that is akin to asking whether a thief should be allowed merely to keep his ill-gotten gains or steal some more. It misses the most fundamental point: Under international law, all settlements on occupied territory are unlawful."Read the full article here. Alan Sabrosky makes a similar point about the Free Gaza Movement boat The Spirit of Humanity:
"Israel’s hijacking last week of The Spirit of Humanity on the international high seas was a simple act of piracy. We have seen different reactions elsewhere to piracy, most notably off the coast of Somalia, or even to the kidnapping of embassy staff and humanitarian aid personnel. In this case, as in previous instances of Israeli violations of international law, nothing has been done."Sabrosky challenges readers to confront elected representatives about repeated violations of human rights by the Israeli military, financed by U.S. taxpayers:
"This is when to pin members of Congress to the political wall – not with chanted slogans or waving placards (those have their place, and it is not here), but with precise questions from well-dressed, polite but forceful people who do not let the target pass the question to a staff member, defer it for study, or side-step the issue. Pin them down, show them slides or pictures from Gaza, give them details, know how they voted on resolutions or measures put out by AIPAC (e.g., how did they vote on the Congressional resolution endorsing Israel’s attack on Gaza), and demand an explanation. And make sure the local media takes in every detail."Read the full article here. Interested in taking up Sabrosky's challenge? Find out how your Members of Congress voted on relevant resolutions using our Congressional Report Card. Then, sign up on our website to meet with your Members of Congress during the August recess. Don't worry if you've never done this before, we'll provide you with the resources and tools you need, and connect you with other people in your Congressional district who will be able to work with you on this important task! Click here to schedule a meeting!