Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Response to J Street statement about Seattle Ad Campaign

The following letter was written on behalf of AUPHR -- one of our member organizations -- by a member of our steering committee... Response to J Street statement about Seattle Ad Campaign Written by Peter Miller, AUPHR Thursday, 23 December 2010 Dear J Street - I am very troubled by your public statement to the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign to drop their ad campaign "Israeli War Crimes - Your Tax Dollars at Work." First off, the Seattle Campaign is being attacked in an extremely reactionary way with open calls to limit the freedom of speech and deny debate and ignore Palestinian rights while invoking the usual canard of anti-Semitism. In short, it is business as usual for the Israel right or wrong crowd. Rather than mention these threats to our democratic ideals and the expression of open discussion, you seem to put yourself on the side of those who threaten free speech and continue to deny Palestinians their rights. Second, Israel is rapidly expanding its settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and still maintaining a damaging siege on the people of Gaza. Palestinian families are being thrown out into the street and their homes are being demolished. Racism is gaining ground in Israel as government Rabbis issue edicts that Jews should not rent to Arabs. I would hope that J Street would pay more attention to these actions and behaviors, surely designed to frustrate and destroy J Street's own stated goal: a two state solution. Third, you say that the ad campaign accuses "Israel of utilizing U.S. aid to commit war crimes" as if to imply that Israel has not done so. Certainly if you peruse the Goldstone report, read reports by Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, go to B'tselem's web site, or read reports of Breaking the Silence of Israeli soldiers, you can see plenty of actions and behavior that are surely illegal under international law. U.S. weapons and equipment like Caterpillar bulldozers have been instrumental in this behavior. Why set your organization up as denying this? Fourth, you insist that the entire Palestine-Israel peace movement drop everything it may be doing and "focus their energies on supporting the bold, assertive American leadership necessary to end the conflict." Many of us have watched the Obama administration flail about while Netanyahu openly insults the US administration and moves full steam ahead with settlements. Decades of successive U.S. governments have neglected Palestinian rights and ignored Israeli abuses. When do you think a "bold, assertive, American leadership" will arise? In ten years? In twenty? How about under a right-wing Republican administration? Essentially you are asking Palestinians and those seeking solidarity with Palestinians to give over to the unrealistic hope of change from above with absolutely no evidence to show that it will be effective. According to J Street, the non-violent tools of direct action, BDS, public engagement and challenging, in short anything that will hold Israeli policies to account must be surrendered. J Street's chosen role of supporting a change in official policy could certainly be an important part of solving the challenges facing us. It would seem that, rather than spending energies attempting to place boundaries on what others chose to do, J Street should focus on its stated mission of lobbying for a two-state solution. The human rights abuses and Israel's occupation are not passive situations for which there is the luxury of time. Rather than treating groups like the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign as adversaries that need to be frustrated and corralled by your own limited strategy, you should understand that only a broad coalition with diverse strategies will have any hope of securing a just future for Israelis and Palestinians. Sincerely, Peter Miller President Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights www.auphr.org

An Open Letter from Gaza: Two Years after the Massacre, a Demand for Justice

(via Adalah-NY) Besieged Gaza, Palestine 27 December, 2010 We the Palestinians of the Besieged Gaza Strip, on this day, two years on from Israel's genocidal attack on our families, our houses, our roads, our factories and our schools, are saying enough inaction, enough discussion, enough waiting – the time is now to hold Israel to account for its ongoing crimes against us. On the 27th of December 2008, Israel began an indiscriminate bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The assault lasted 22 days, killing 1,417 Palestinians, 352 of them children, according to main-stream Human Rights Organizations. For a staggering 528 hours, Israeli Occupation Forces let loose their US-supplied F15s, F16s, Merkava Tanks, internationally prohibited White Phosphorous, and bombed and invaded the small Palestinian coastal enclave that is home to 1.5 million, of whom 800,000 are children and over 80 percent UN registered refugees. Around 5,300 remain permanently wounded. This devastation exceeded in savagery all previous massacres suffered in Gaza, such as the 21children killed in Jabalia in March 2008 or the 19 civilians killed sheltering in their house in the Beit Hanoun Massacre of 2006. The carnage even exceeded the attacks in November 1956 in which Israeli troops indiscriminately rounded up and killed 275 Palestinians in the Southern town of Khan Younis and 111 more in Rafah. Since the Gaza massacre of 2009, world citizens have undertaken the responsibility to pressure Israel to comply with international law, through a proven strategy of boycott, divestment and sanctions. As in the global BDS movement that was so effective in ending the apartheid South African regime, we urge people of conscience to join the BDS call made by over 170 Palestinian organizations in 2005. As in South Africa the imbalance of power and representation in this struggle can be counterbalanced by a powerful international solidarity movement with BDS at the forefront, holding Israeli policy makers to account, something the international governing community has repeatedly failed to do. Similarly, creative civilian efforts such as the Free Gaza boats that broke the siege five times, the Gaza Freedom March, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, and the many land convoys must never stop their siege-breaking, highlighting the inhumanity of keeping 1.5 million Gazans in an open-air prison. Two years have now passed since Israel’s gravest of genocidal acts that should have left people in no doubt of the brutal extent of Israel’s plans for the Palestinians. The murderous navy assault on international activists aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in the Mediterranean Sea magnified to the world the cheapness Israel has assigned to Palestinian llife for so long. The world knows now, yet two years on nothing has changed for Palestinians. The Goldstone Report came and went: despite its listing count after count of international law contraventions, Israeli “war crimes” and “possible crimes against humanity,” the European Union, the United Nations, the Red Cross, and all major Human Rights Organizations have called for an end to the illegal, medieval siege, it carries on unabated. On 11th November 2010 UNRWA head John Ging said, “There's been no material change for the people on the ground here in terms of their status, the aid dependency, the absence of any recovery or reconstruction, no economy…The easing, as it was described, has been nothing more than a political easing of the pressure on Israel and Egypt.” On the 2nd of December, 22 international organizations including Amnesty, Oxfam, Save the Children, Christian Aid, and Medical Aid for Palestinians produced the report ‘Dashed Hopes, Continuation of the Gaza Blockade’ calling for international action to force Israel to unconditionally lift the blockade, saying the Palestinians of Gaza under Israeli siege continue to live in the same devastating conditions. Only a week ago Human Rights Watch published a comprehensive report "Separate and Unequal" that denounced Israeli policies as Apartheid, echoing similar sentiments by South African anti-apartheid activists. We Palestinians of Gaza want to live at liberty to meet Palestinian friends or family from Tulkarem, Jerusalem or Nazareth; we want to have the right to travel and move freely. We want to live without fear of another bombing campaign that leaves hundreds of our children dead and many more injured or with cancers from the contamination of Israel’s white phosphorous and chemical warfare. We want to live without the humiliations at Israeli checkpoints or the indignity of not providing for our families because of the unemployment brought about by the economic control and the illegal siege. We are calling for an end to the racism that underpins all this oppression. We ask: when will the world’s countries act according to the basic premise that people should be treated equally, regardless of their origin, ethnicity or colour – is it so far-fetched that a Palestinian child deserves the same human rights as any other human being? Will you be able to look back and say you stood on the right side of history or will you have sided with the oppressor? We, therefore, call on the international community to take up its responsibility to protect the Palestinian people from Israel’s heinous aggression, immediately ending the siege with full compensation for the destruction of life and infrastructure visited upon us by this explicit policy of collective punishment. Nothing whatsoever justifies the intentional policies of savagery, including the severing of access to the water and electricity supply to 1.5 million people. The international conspiracy of silence towards the genocidal war taking place against the more than 1.5 million civilians in Gaza indicates complicity in these war crimes. We also call upon all Palestine solidarity groups and all international civil society organizations to demand: * An end to the siege that has been imposed on the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a result of their exercise of democratic choice. * The protection of civilian lives and property, as stipulated in International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law such as The Fourth Geneva Convention. * The immediate release of all political prisoners. * That Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip be immediately provided with financial and material support to cope with the immense hardship that they are experiencing * An end to occupation, Apartheid and other war crimes. * Immediate reparations and compensation for all destruction carried out by the Israeli Occupation Forces in the Gaza Strip. Boycott Divest and Sanction, join the many International Trade Unions, Universities, Supermarkets and artists and writers who refuse to entertain Apartheid Israel. Speak out for Palestine, for Gaza, and crucially ACT. The time is now. Besieged Gaza, Palestine List of signatories: General Union for Public Services Workers General Union for Health Services Workers University Teachers' Association Palestinian Congregation for Lawyers General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers General Union for Agricultural Workers Union of Women’s Work Committees Union of Synergies—Women Unit The One Democratic State Group Arab Cultural Forum Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel Association of Al-Quds Bank for Culture and Info Palestine Sailing Federation Palestinian Association for Fishing and Maritime Palestinian Network of Non-Governmental Organizations Palestinian Women Committees Progressive Students’ Union Medical Relief Society The General Society for Rehabilitation General Union of Palestinian Women Afaq Jadeeda Cultural Centre for Women and Children Deir Al-Balah Cultural Centre for Women and Children Maghazi Cultural Centre for Children Al-Sahel Centre for Women and Youth Ghassan Kanfani Kindergartens Rachel Corrie Centre, Rafah Rafah Olympia City Sisters Al Awda Centre, Rafah Al Awda Hospital, Jabaliya Camp Ajyal Association, Gaza General Union of Palestinian Syndicates Al Karmel Centre, Nuseirat Local Initiative, Beit Hanoun Union of Health Work Committees Red Crescent Society Gaza Strip Beit Lahiya Cultural Centre Al Awda Centre, Rafah

Monday, December 27, 2010

Take Action: Two Years after "Cast Lead," Obama Administration must hold Israel accountable

Israeli bombing of Gaza during Operation Cast Lead Israel bombs Gaza during Operation "Cast Lead"

Two years ago today Israel launched a horrific attack, codenamed "Operation Cast Lead," against the 1.5 million besieged people of the Palestinian Gaza Strip. In an all-out, 22-day assault that shocked the conscience of millions around the globe, Israel killed approximately 1,400 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians [1]. Although a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has largely held since then, Israel continues to collectively punish Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip through an illegal siege. Its leaders have not been held to account for what the Goldstone Report [2] documented to be violations of human rights and international law, war crimes, and possible crimes against humanity. Join the US Campaign's call upon the Obama Administration to: 1. Demand that Israel end its illegal siege of the Gaza Strip, and 2. Stop blocking the international community from holding Israel accountable for its actions. Help us reach our goal of 22,000 signatures in the next 22 days. Three weeks ago, on Human Rights Day, the State Department told us that there is a "single universal standard that applies to every country, including our own. We apply it to Israelis," and that it views "Palestinians as being human beings under the Universal Declaration [of Human Rights] and entitled to these rights" (our camera recorded these remarks). You can help us hold the Obama Administration to its words today by signing our petition and spreading the word. We need to hold the Obama Administration accountable because its policies don't match its rhetoric. State Department spokesperson Robert Wood infamously refused to answer whether the United States considered pasta--an item denied to Palestinians under Israel's illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip--a "dual-use item." The United States, as revealed in a State Department cable [3] posted by Wikileaks, has also been colluding with Israel to deflect further damage to Israel's image from the Goldstone Report, rather than hold it to the "single universal standard that applies to every country." Help us end the Obama Administration's hypocrisy on human rights and on its policies toward Israel and the besieged Palestinian Gaza Strip by signing our petition right now.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The U.S. needs to get tough with Israel

Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the Palestine Center in Washington, DC, has written an important op-ed in the Los Angeles Times challenging the Obama administration to get tougher with Israel or be regarded as irrelevant to the conflict's resolution by much of the rest of the world. The piece also highlights the unhelpful role of Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-California).
This is an excellent opportunity to let the LA Times know that you'd like to see more such commentary. Please write your letter to the editor today, particularly if you are in the Los Angeles area. Letters can be sent to letters@latimes.com and should be 150 words or shorter. Include your full name, mailing address, daytime phone number, and e-mail address. This information is seen only by the letters editors and is not used for any commercial purpose.
The recent settlement freeze debacle shows the U.S. cannot proceed with its all-carrot, no-stick policy toward Israel if it wants to see a change in its behavior.
By Yousef Munayyer
December 22, 2010
When diplomatic sources revealed that the United States was abandoning efforts for an Israeli settlement freeze, many surely did not know whether to laugh or cry. The first two years of U.S.-Israeli relations under the Obama administration has been a debacle. For the next two, what is learned from that failure, and how it's applied, will be of utmost importance.
The failure to get a freeze is not only about the settlements — a colonial enterprise expanding on occupied Palestinian territory that a new Human Rights Watch report called a "two-tier system" that is both "separate and unequal"— but also a test of America's commitment to evenhanded mediation. So-called core issues, including the return of Palestinian refugees and the disposition of Jerusalem, are every bit as difficult as the settlements, maybe more. But obtaining the freeze was a tone-setter, one that would have shown that the U.S. could fairly enforce obligations by both parties.
This didn't happen. Instead, during the earlier, temporary 10-month freeze, the Israeli settlements were still being expanded — only new-home construction was frozen — and settlements around Jerusalem were accelerated.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

U.S. Government Responds to Questions About Imprisoned Palestinian Protest Organizer Abu Rahmah

As the case of nonviolent Palestinian organizer Abdallah Abu Rahmah has gained attention globally with statements from the European Union, The Elders (including former US President Jimmy Carter), Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and others, at least one reporter poses the question of Abu Rahmah's fate to the United States Undersecretary of State PJ Crowley.
Abu Rahmah was sentenced to one year in Israeli prison on the charge of "incitement" for organizing protests against the confiscation of land and Israel's illegal wall in his West Bank village of Bil'in. One year has since passed and Abu Rahmah is still being held indefinitely by the Israeli military.

'Israeli War Crimes' signs to go on Metro buses

Posted on December 17, 2010 at 6:19 PM
KING 5 News, Seattle
SEATTLE – "Israeli War Crimes," the enormous advertisement reads. "Your tax dollars at work."
To the right of the image is a group of children -- one little boy stares out at the viewer, the others gawk at a demolished building, all rebar and crumbled concrete.
It's an ad you'll be seeing soon on a handful of Metro buses in downtown Seattle.
A group calling itself the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign has paid King County $1,794 so that 12 buses will carry that message around town, starting two days after Christmas. That's December 27: the two-year anniversary of Israeli attacks on Gaza, aimed at stopping rocket attacks and weapons smuggling.
Ed Mast, a Seattle man who is a spokesperson for the group, says it’s not meant to be an anti-Israel message, but a message designed to generate discussion and awareness.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Israel leaves us no choice but to boycott

Palestinians have already given up so much since 1948. It's up to Israel to end its campaign of ethnic cleansing for the peace process to move forward.
By Ali Abunimah, December 17, 2010
Israel's deputy minister of foreign affairs, Danny Ayalon, paints a picture of an innocent Israel yearning for peace, virtually begging the intransigent Palestinians to come negotiate so there can be a "two-states-for-two-peoples solution" ("Who's stopping the peace process?" Dec. 14). But it's one that bears no resemblance to the realities Palestinians experience and much of the world sees every day.
Ayalon claims that the settlements Israel refuses to stop building on occupied land are a "red herring" and present no obstacles to peace because in the "43 years since Israel gained control of the West Bank, the built-up areas of the settlements constitute less than 1.7% of the total area."
But let us remind ourselves of a few facts that are not in dispute. Since the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel signed the Oslo peace agreement in 1993, the number of Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has tripled to more than half a million. Ayalon's deceptive focus on the "built-up areas" ignores the reality that the settlements now control 42% of the West Bank, according to a report last July from the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

House vote against Palestinian statehood actually showed that Israel lobby is losing its grip

by Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
16 December, 2010
Yesterday the House of Representatives passed a resolution, H.Res.1765, “condemning unilateral measures to declare or recognize a Palestinian state.” At first glance, this vote appears to be yet another in a long string of resolutions shoring up unconditional Congressional support for Israeli occupation and apartheid. In reality, however, it demonstrates more a weakening—rather than a strengthening—of support for Israel on Capitol Hill at present.
“How does House passage of another anti-Palestinian resolution exhibit a slackening of Congressional support for Israel?” you might rightfully ask. Allow me to explain the paradox.
As are most “pro-Israel” resolutions, H.Res.1765 was brought to a vote under a procedure known as “suspension of the rules.” This procedure, which is supposed to be reserved for non-controversial resolutions such as the naming of a post office, prohibits the resolution from being amended and limits debate on it. In exchange for these restrictions, the resolution must get at least a 2/3 vote to pass rather than a simple majority.
However, unlike most “pro-Israel” resolutions, which often are not voted on for months after being introduced in order to give the Israel lobby time to marshal an overwhelming number of co-sponsors, H.Res.1765 was pushed through quickly with the co-sponsorship of only 53 Representatives.

U.S. Boat to Gaza announces: Application Process Now Open

Hurry -- Registration for the "Audacity of Hope" will close after 30 DAYS.
TO BE A PASSENGER ON THE U.S. BOAT TO GAZA:
· You must have reached your 21st birthday or be legally emancipated on or before March 31, 2011.
· You must be prepared to go without any medications if you are detained.
· The schedule is tentative and may change, due to weather and unexpected conditions.
· You must be prepared to be away from home at least 10 days and possibly up to several weeks.
· You must be aware that if you are detained, the likelihood is that you will not be allowed to enter Israel for 10 years.
· You accept principles of non-violent resistance and will receive specific training before sailing.
· You will be responsible for your own airfare and all expenses up to and after the boat journey, including penalties if you change your flight reservations.
· Because of the seriousness of this voyage, US TO GAZA needs to find out as much as possible about you, so please be forthcoming in completing your application.
· You must be willing and able to attend an orientation session prior to departure.
· Please understand that space aboard the U.S. Boat to Gaza will be extremely limited. Attention will be given to creating a diverse and representative team to sail to break the blockade of Gaza. We anticipate that we will not be able to accept many qualified people, and hope that if you are not accepted you will continue to be involved in the campaign and will work to make The Audacity of Hope a success.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO APPLY TO BE A PASSENGER ON THE U.S. BOAT TO GAZA, THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, PLEASE SEND YOUR NAME AND E-MAIL ADDRESS TO applications.ustogaza@gmail.com TO REQUEST AN APPLICATION.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS WILL CLOSE ON JANUARY 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

CodePink invites you to the Gaza Strip, January 30 to February 6, 2011

As we approach the two year anniversary of the Israeli invasion of Gaza, join CODEPINK on a delegation to examine how the people of Gaza have fared in the past two years and how the restrictions on trade and travel continue to impact their lives. We will meet with UN representatives, NGOs, students, government officials, human rights monitors and businesspeople. We will enter Gaza via the Egyptian crossing at Rafah, departing from Cairo the morning of January 30 and returning to Cairo the evening of February 6. Payment of $1,000 includes transportation from Cairo to Gaza and within Gaza, program, translation, 2 meals/day, Gaza accommodations, donations to local organizations. LEARN MORE, SIGN UP...

Oppose Today's House Resolution Denying Palestinian Self Determination

We are outraged to learn that Rep. Howard Berman, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is trying to push through Congress today a resolution “condemning unilateral declarations of a Palestinian state.” As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the worst stumbling block to freedom’s advance is the person who “paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's [or woman’s] freedom.” Yet, this is exactly what Rep. Berman’s resolution seeks to do: subjugate Palestinian freedom and self-determination to Israel’s indefinite timeline. As MLK said, “‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’” We’re asking you to take action now because this resolution will be voted on today. (By the way, the text of the resolution isn’t even public yet, but we got our hands on a copy of it, which we’re publishing below.) Here’s what you can do: 1. Sign our petition to Rep. Berman letting him know that it is wrong for the United States to put a timeline on Palestinian freedom and self-determination. If we get 5,000 signatures before the vote, we will hand deliver the signatures to Rep. Berman to let him know in person how outraged you are by his resolution. Help us reach our goal now by signing the petition and then spreading the word. 2. Call your Representative and ask him/her to vote “no” or “present” on this resolution and to speak against it on the House floor. After you sign the petition, you will be redirected to a page where you can enter your zip code and then get the phone number for your Representative.

Use one or more of the talking points below when calling your Representative, but be sure to call now before the vote!


TALKING POINTS

* I urge Representative X to vote “no” or “present” on the resolution condemning Palestinian statehood, and ask him/her to speak against the resolution on the House floor. * It is wrong for Congress to condemn Palestinian attempts to achieve freedom and self-determination. Congress has no business putting a timeline on Palestinian human rights. * Israel has shown repeatedly that it prefers to colonize Palestinian land, rather than end its illegal 43-year military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip and negotiate in good faith to establish an independent Palestinian state. Under these circumstances, Palestinians cannot be blamed for seeking alternatives ways to establish an independent state. * This resolution paternalistically demands Palestinians “resume direct negotiations with Israel immediately” even while Israel continues to illegally colonize Palestinian land supposedly designated for a future Palestinian state. * This resolution calls on the Administration to meddle in the internal affairs of other countries by opposing the recognition of a Palestinian state by other nations. * The text of this resolution was kept secret prior to the vote, the Obama Administration probably had no time to offer its opinion on it, there were no hearings about it, and the public had little chance to offer its opinion on it. The process by which this resolution is being brought to a vote is fundamentally anti-democratic.


TEXT OF RESOLUTION Supporting a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and condemning unilateral measures to declare or recognize a Palestinian state, and for other purposes. Whereas a true and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties; Whereas Palestinian leaders have repeatedly threatened to declare unilaterally a Palestinian state and to seek recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations and other international forums; Whereas Palestinian leaders are reportedly pursuing a coordinated strategy of seeking recognition of a Palestinian state within the United Nations, in other international forums, and from a number of foreign governments; Whereas on November 24, 2010, Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization, wrote to the President of Brazil, requesting that the Government of Brazil recognize a Palestinian state, with the hope that such an action would encourage other countries likewise to recognize a Palestinian state; Whereas on December 1, 2010, in response to Abbas’s letter, the Government of Brazil unilaterally recognized a Palestinian state; Whereas on December 6, 2010, the Government of Argentina announced its decision to recognize unilaterally a Palestinian state, and the Government of Uruguay announced that it would unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state in 2011; Whereas, on March 11, 1999, the Senate adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 5, and on March 16, 1999, the House of Representatives adopted House Concurrent Resolution 24, both of which resolved that ‘‘any attempt to establish Palestinian statehood outside the negotiating process will invoke the strongest congressional opposition’’; Whereas Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stated on October 20, 2010, that ‘‘There is no substitute for face-to-face discussion and, ultimately, for an agreement that leads to a just and lasting peace.’’; Whereas, on November 5, 2010, United States Department of State Spokesman Mark Toner, responding to a questions about the Palestinians possibly taking action to seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations, said, ‘‘[T]he only way that we’re going to get a comprehensive peace is through direct negotiations, and anything that might affect those direct negotiations we feel is not helpful and not constructive’’; Whereas Secretary Clinton stated on November 10, 2010, that ‘‘we have always said and I continue to say that negotiations between the parties is the only means by which all of the outstanding claims arising out of the conflict can be resolved. . .There can be no progress until they actually come together and explore where areas of agreement are and how to narrow areas of disagreement. So we do not support unilateral steps by either party that could prejudge the outcome of such negotiations.’’; Whereas on December 7, 2010, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip J. Crowley stated, ‘‘We don’t think that we should be distracted from the fact that the only way to resolve the core issues within the process is through direct negotiations.’’; Whereas Secretary Clinton state on December 10, 2010, that “it is only a negotiated agreement between the parties that will be sustainable”; Whereas the Government of Israel has made clear that it would reject a Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence, has repeatedly affirmed that the conflict should be resolved through direct negotiations with the Palestinians, and has repeatedly called on the Palestinian leadership to return to direct negotiations; and Whereas efforts to bypass negotiations and to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state, or to appeal to the United Nations or other international forums or to foreign governments for recognition of a Palestinian state, would violate the underlying principles of the Oslo Accords, the Road Map, and other relevant Middle East peace process efforts; Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives— (1) Reaffirms its strong support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states, a democratic, Jewish state of Israel and a viable, democratic Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition; (2) reaffirms its strong opposition to any attempt to establish or seek recognition of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians; (3) urges Palestinian leaders to— (A) cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process, including efforts to gain recognition of a Palestinian state from other nations, within the United Nations, and in other international forums prior to achievement of a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, and calls upon foreign governments not to extend such recognition; and (B) resume direct negotiations with Israel immediately; (4) supports the Obama Administration’s opposition to a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state; (5) Calls upon the Administration to: (a) lead a diplomatic effort to persuade other nations to oppose a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and to oppose recognition of a Palestinian state by other nations, within the United Nations, and in other international forums prior to achievement of a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians; and (b) affirm that the United States would (i) deny recognition to any unilaterally declared Palestinian state and (ii) veto any resolution by the United Nations Security Council to establish or recognize a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated by the two parties.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

St. Louis Flash Mob urges shoppers to boycott apartheid

From http://www.stl-psc.org/?p=149: On December 4th, 2010, more than 40 members and friends of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee (STL-PSC) gathered at Best Buy and AT&T for a flash mob urging holiday shoppers to boycott Israeli apartheid and Hang Up on Motorola. One of the participants was arrested as he was attempting to leave the parking lot. Call the police in North St. Louis, and you're lucky if someone shows up, but disrupt three minutes of Christmas shopping and you are busted! Visit STL-PSC and learn more about the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.

DIVESTMENT: Presbyterian Mission Network Responds to Simon Wiesenthal Center Attack

NEW YORK, December 4—The Israel Palestine Mission Network, a key player in assuring the passage of the Presbyterian Church’s Middle East Study Committee Report at the denomination’s national assembly in July, has responded to the recent attack on the church which appeared in an Op-Ed piece written by Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the Wall Street Journal on December 3rd. “The Simon Wiesenthal Center is up to its old tricks,” said Rev. Jeffrey DeYoe, Advocacy Chairperson for the Network. “This is not the first time they have wrongly accused Christian traditions that are committed to overcoming injustice in the Holy Land of demonizing the Jewish people.” Early in 2010 the Wiesenthal Center attacked the Presbyterian Middle East Study Committee report even before it had been made available for public review. When the report was finally approved by an overwhelming majority at the Presbyterian General Assembly in Minneapolis in July, various Jewish observers expressed differing views both in support and opposition. “In a world where an occupying nation with the most powerful standing army in the Middle East can claim victimhood, even while it effectively inflicts apartheid on an entire indigenous people, Rabbis Hier and Cooper have much to try to defend…or spin,” DeYoe reflected, “to say nothing of their Center’s entanglement in the controversial ‘Museum of Tolerance’ project in Jerusalem – a museum being built on the site of an ancient Muslim cemetery.” In its attack on the Presbyterian Church (USA) the Rabbis mistakenly claimed that Presbyterians called for divestment from Israel in 2004. What the church did was call for its Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee to examine where its funds are invested, and to withdraw them if such investments contribute to injustice and human rights abuses. The Presbyterian Church has never called for divestment from, or boycott of Israel. The primary targets of the proposed divestment action were U.S. corporations profiting from military occupation. The church has a longstanding record of not investing in any corporations that engage in such behavior anywhere in the world. DeYoe went on to point out: “Whether Rabbis Hier and Cooper like it or not, the real facts on the ground in Israel and Palestine are human and plain to see: the land is made up of Israelis and Palestinians who are Jewish, Christian and Muslim on both sides of the Green Line. The vast majority of all these peoples are peaceful and law-abiding. It is the conviction of our network, and our church, to work for the security, peace and human rights of all God’s people in the Holy Land.” Contact: The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey DeYoe, Advocacy Chair www.theIPMN.org info@theIPMN.org Reposted from here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Message from Israeli Military Prison on International Human Rights Day

Majida Abu Rahmah in The Huffington Post
My imprisoned husband Abdullah Abu Rahmah passed the following message through his lawyer:
A year ago tonight, on International Human Rights Day, our apartment in Ramallah was broken into by the Israeli military in the middle of the night and I was torn away from my wife Majida, my daughters Luma and Layan, and my son Laith, who at the time was only nine months old.
As the coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements I was convicted of "organizing illegal demonstrations" and "incitement." The "illegal demonstrations" refer to the nonviolent resistance campaign that my village has been waging for the last six years against Israel's Apartheid Wall that is being built on our land.

Los Angeles JVP calls on TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar

By Adolfo Flores, Pasadena Star-News, 12/10/2010


PASADENA - Members of the Los Angeles Jewish Voice for Peace on Friday protested a retirement planning office they claim profits from the conflict in the Middle East.

Organizers called on TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar Inc. because the company allegedly supplied bulldozers to Israel that were used to demolish Palestinian homes in the West Bank, protest organizers said.

About 10 protestors gathered outside the office in conjunction with Human Rights Day.

"I think that they're making a mistake by not talking to people," said Estee Chandler. "We came with a petition with 650 signatures ... it asks them to divest from companies that directly profit from the occupation of Palestinian lands."

2011 Advocacy Training & Lobby Day to include keynote address by Robert Malley

Registration is now open for our March 6-7 Grassroots Advocacy Training and Lobby Day in Washington, DC -- a joint project of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and Interfaith Peace-Builders. The event's keynote speaker will be Robert Malley, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at the International Crisis Group.
Malley directs analysts based in Amman, Cairo, Beirut, Tel Aviv and Baghdad. The ICG reports on the political, social and economic factors affecting the risk of conflict and make policy recommendations to address these threats. Malley previously worked as Special Assistant to President Clinton for Arab-Israeli Affairs, Executive Assistant to National Security Advisor Samuel R. Berger, and as Director for Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs at the National Security Council.
The third annual training and lobby day will provide seasoned organizers and new activists with the skills and experience needed to make a real impact. As the US-led 'peace process' hits new snags, the importance of grassroots action has never been greater!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

U.S. State Department Recognizes Palestinian Rights on Human Rights Day

(Washington, DC) December 10—In response to a question posed by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation at today's Human Rights Day Town Hall held by the State Department, the Obama Administration acknowledged that Israel should be held to the same human rights standards as every other country, and that Palestinians are entitled to their full human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This video shows the question, raised by National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner, and the answer, given by Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner.
Posner rejected the idea that Israel should be held to a lower standard of accountability to human rights than other countries, stating that there is a "single universal standard that applies to every country, including our own. We apply it to Israelis." Posner also affirmed that the State Department views "Palestinians as being human beings under the Universal Declaration [of Human Rights] and entitled to these rights."
Ruebner stated that, "Now that the United States finally recognizes that Palestinians are entitled to universal human rights, and that Israel should be held accountable to these human rights standards, it should be relatively easy for the United States to broker a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace based on these principles."
Ruebner added: "For far too long, U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine has been based on Israel's perceived security interests to the detriment of Palestinian human rights. The Obama Administration should be applauded for its newfound commitment to Palestinian human rights, which will serve hopefully as the new basis for a revamped U.S. strategy to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Only 48 Hours Until Country-Wide BDS Day of Action!

This year, what better way to honor International Human Rights Day than to join with others around the country to say NO to investment in Occupation & Apartheid! If you haven't already, it's not too late to join this initiative by Jewish Voice for Peace to tell financial company TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola, and other companies profiting from Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. Organizers in more than 20 cities around the country are mobilizing to bring their voices to local TIAA-CREF offices in the form of petitions, face-to-face meetings, and demonstrations. If you haven't already, register here to join with others in your area already taking part. You can find more general information about the campaign, a step-by-step guide, and a sample petition here. This Friday, join the chorus of voices telling TIAA-CREF we will not stand for profiting from Occupation & Apartheid!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Caroling Protest in Front of Lev Leviev's New York Store

Sing parody carols to boycott Israeli apartheid
Saturday, December 18th, 1:00 - 3:00 pm
LEVIEV Jewelry Store
700 Madison Avenue, between 62nd and 63rd
The international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel continues to grow and achieve successes. Following a global boycott campaign, Leviev's company Africa Israel made an ambiguous statement that it had no plans to build more settlements. But another Leviev company, Leader, continues to build the Zufim settlement on Jayyous' land, and Leviev's support for human rights abuses in the diamond industry in Angola continues.
This event has been endorsed by: Brooklyn For Peace, Code Pink NYC, Columbia SJP, Existence Is Resistance, Jewish Voice for Peace NYC, Jews Say No!, NYU SJP, Siege Busters Working Group ,WESPAC Foundation, Women in Black - Union Square (list still in formation)
A similar caroling party in 2007:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

British Labour MP calls for Israeli settler labelling on food imports

Yvette Cooper wants EU to follow example of supermarkets which identify goods produced in occupied West Bank
Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent
The Guardian, Saturday 4 December 2010
Britain should step up pressure on Israel to stop building illegal settlements in the West Bank by pressing for greater Europe-wide transparency on food exported from the occupied territories, Yvette Cooper says today.
In an interview with the Guardian, she calls on the government to persuade the EU to introduce labelling that would identify goods produced by Israeli settlers.
Cooper, who spoke after her first visit to the Middle East as shadow foreign secretary, wants the EU to follow the example of supermarkets which identify goods produced in the occupied West Bank.

Friday, December 3, 2010

IWW supports Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in support of Palestinian Rights

12/2/2010 -- The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) has officially voted to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in support of Palestinian rights. The "Resolution in Support of the Workers of Palestine/Israel" was adopted in an overwhelming vote both at the IWW's convention in Minneapolis and by the membership via referendum. This vote makes the IWW the first union in the US and the third union in Canada to officially support the Palestinian United Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Joseph Dana on New Media and the Truth in Israel & Palestine

Reporter Joseph Dana recently did this interview, on GRITtv with Laura Flanders, on how social media are giving Palestinians the ability to tell their stories to their world. He also talks about Wikileaks and the nonviolent resistance on the ground in Palestine.

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.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Video: US Campaign steering committee member speaks at U.N.

The U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People met on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, on Monday, November 29, 2010. One of the statements given was from Judith LeBlanc, a member of the steering committee of the US Campaign to End the israeli Occupation. The entire program, including the other statements, is viewable here.

Veolia drops Jerusalem project due to political pressure

Dan Bus Lines says Veolia leaving light rail project because of anti-Israel boycotts; French transportation company denies allegations.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Vermont group offers anti-apartheid pledge, and more

The group "Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel" has launched a web site that offers you:
  • A PLEDGE you can sign to support the nonviolent BDS campaign
  • A GUIDE to products you can boycott to resist apartheid
  • LINKS TO B.D.S. news, resources and organizations
The pledge reads:
I stand with Nelson Mandela, Palestinian civil society and people of conscience around the world in support of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS) against corporations, business interests, and academic and cultural institutions that are complicit in or profit from Israeli apartheid and occupation of the Palestinian territories.
I pledge my support of the BDS campaign until Israel recognizes the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and complies with the precepts of international law by:
  • Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands
  • Dismantling the Separation Wall
  • Recognizing the fundamental rights of all Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel to full equality
  • Respecting, promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands as stipulated by the Geneva Conventions and U.N. Resolution 194.

U.S. Students Group Calls to Boycott an Israeli Hummus Brand

A group of Princeton University students proposed a boycott of the Sabra hummus brand for its donations to the Israeli army.
Tuesday November 30, 2010 -- On Monday, a referendum was organized by the Princeton Committee for Palestine to decide whether to offer alternative brands of hummus in the campus.
The group argued that the only hummus brand, Sabra, which is available, is linked to human rights violations, due to the fact that it supports members of the Israeli military, Haaretz reported.

Take Action: WikiLeaks Exposes U.S. Militarization of Middle East

There it is--in black and white--in one of the WikiLeaks State Department cables. A senior Israeli military official, discussing U.S. military aid to Israel totaling $30 billion from 2009 to 2018, who acknowledged:

"the sometimes difficult position the U.S. finds itself in given its global interests, and conceded that Israel's security focus is so narrow that its...concerns often clash with broader American security interests in the region."

Sec. Clinton and PM Netanyahu TAKE ACTION NOW: Put U.S. Interests-- Not Israel's--First! Photo: AP / Mary Altaffer

The cables released so far shed light on behind-the-scenes struggles between Israel's quest for complete military dominance in the Middle East versus the U.S. desire to saturate the entire region with a flood of high-tech weapons.

Read more about the WikiLeaks revelations in this article published yesterday in the Huffington Post by our National Advocacy Director, Josh Ruebner.

WikiLeaks has done a great service in exposing in detail how U.S. diplomacy is geared toward flooding the Middle East with weapons, fueling a never-ending arms race, abetting Israel's crimes against innocent Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, maintaining U.S. wars that have cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

This war spending deprives our own communities of resources for unmet human needs such as health care, affordable housing, education and job training.

It's up to us as civil society, to rein in our government's flooding of both Israel and the entire region with weapons. As President Jimmy Carter wisely stated:

"We cannot be both the world's leading champion of peace and the world's leading supplier of the weapons of war."

Here's what you can do:

  1. President Obama is preparing his budget request for FY2012. It's expected to include a record-breaking $3.075 billion in military aid to Israel. Congress needs to make some tough spending choices to cut the deficit and debt. Tell your Members of Congress that your hard-earned tax dollars should go toward human needs in your community rather than more weapons for Israel, which it misuses to oppress Palestinians.
  2. "Offset" your estimated average bill this year--$19.19--for U.S. military aid to Israel by making a tax-deductible contribution to support our work to end U.S. military aid to Israel. "Offset" the bills for military aid for each member of your family and on behalf of friends. Visit www.aidtoisrael.org to look up how much money your city provides in military aid to Israel and "offset" that amount.
  3. Commit to a new year of educating and organizing people in your community to end U.S. military aid to Israel and redirect that money to unmet needs here at home. Sign up to receive an organizing packet to get you started.