Monday, January 31, 2011
Peace Works 2011: Solidarity in Action
The Rachel Corrie Foundation will host its annual Peace Works Conference, April 8-9th, 2011. This years conference, Solidarity in Action, features acclaimed author and activist, Alice Walker as our keynote speaker. Please join us for two exciting days of networking, panels, and workshops focused on organizing around the ever-growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in support of Palestinian human rights.
Peace Works will take place at the Evergreen State College whose student body in June 2010 overwhelmingly voted for campus divestment from Israeli corporations and the creation of a Caterpillar Inc. equipment free campus. Panelists will address a variety of issues including strategies for justice, BDS campaigns, and cross movement building. Local and national organizers will facilitate workshops to educate, motivate, and inspire you to take action in your community. Workshop themes will include corporate, consumer, campus, interfaith, and cultural/academic BDS campaigns providing the opportunity for the BDS movement to celebrate its national successes and strengthen our regional efforts.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Good riddance, 'peace process'
Don't lament the end of negotiations that put Israeli demands, backed almost unconditionally by the U.S. and at the expense of basic Palestinian rights, first and foremost.
January 28, 2011
Aaron David Miller, a former Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" point person in the George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, is correct to assert in his Jan. 26 Times Op-Ed article that the recent cache of formerly secret documents on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations leaked to Al Jazeera "are bound to have a chilling effect on a process already in the deep freeze."
He errs, however, in lamenting the potential demise of a U.S.-sponsored "peace process" that is premised on Israel's demands, not Palestinian rights.
"As harmful as these leaks are to Palestinians, the Israelis don't look very good either," Miller notes. The Palestine Papers, as the leaks are known, portray Palestinian negotiators bending over backward to concede their rights, with Israel pocketing the concessions while demanding even more.
Friday, January 28, 2011
By Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director
As we’ve reported previously on our blog, we’ve been working with our member groups across the country to place billboards opposing U.S. military aid to Israel. Check out a selection of the ads on our new and improved aidtoisrael website. A recent billboard campaign in the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system—sponsored by US Campaign member groups Northern California Friends of Sabeel, American Muslims for Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace—occasioned a racist counter-ad campaign by Stand With Us. When we advertised in the Washington Metro Area Transit Agency (WMATA), Stand With Us did a similar racist counter-ad campaign. We were really heartened to learn today that BART will no longer tolerate the racist ads sponsored by Stand With Us. Yesterday, the San Francisco Bay Guardian reported that BART has removed the Stand With Us ads!
Let’s celebrate this victory against racism by seeing more pro-active billboard campaigns across the country. It’s working!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
During Obama's address, US Campaign's Phyllis Bennis weighs in on administration's misappropriation of $30bn for more Israeli war crimes instead of 600,000 new green jobs
SOTU: Really, Mr. President?
President Barack Obama
We have also taken the fight to al-Qaeda and their allies abroad. In Afghanistan, our troops have taken Taliban strongholds and trained Afghan Security Forces. Our purpose is clear – by preventing the Taliban from reestablishing a stranglehold over the Afghan people, we will deny al-Qaeda the safe-haven that served as a launching pad for 9/11.
Is President Obama going to say anything about the latest failure in U.S.-brokered peace talks in the Middle East? Or is he just hoping we’re not paying attention, and that we’re fine with paying $30 billion over these ten years directly to the Israeli military, money that could be used for 600,000 new green jobs here at home?
FULL COMMENTS AT IPS-DC.ORG...
Posted: January 25
Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank village of Bil'in had no cause to ring in the New Year as tragedy struck the Abu Rahmah family for the fourth time in three years.
After inhaling tear gas fired by the Israeli military at a December 31 demonstration, 36-year-old villager Jawaher Abu Rahmah died the next day from cardiac arrest. Rather than admit wrongdoing, the Israeli military briefed behind closed doors friendly bloggers who then shamefully blamed her death on cancer, or failing that, on an "honor killing."
Previously, Jawaher's 29-year-old brother Bassem was killed by the Israeli military in April 2009 when he was hit in the chest with a high-velocity tear gas canister.
The tear gas that killed both siblings was manufactured by Jamestown, PA company, Combined Systems, Inc. (CSI), which ironically markets its products under the website: www.less-lethal.com. Cold comfort for the grieving Abu Rahmah family.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
by Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director
Bravo to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington State for suing King County after it censored bus ads, sponsored by US Campaign member group Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, spotlighting how U.S. military aid to Israel enables its war crimes against Palestinians. We’ve been working with member groups of our coalition throughout the country to initiate advertising campaigns to educate people about our complicity in Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinians through U.S. military and diplomatic support. Check out some previous ad campaigns, download how-to guides for running these kind of ads, and find out how much your community provides in military aid to Israel at our interactive website: aidtoisrael.org Unfortunately, we’re no strangers to acts of censorship ourselves. CBS, which has a monopoly on advertising in the DC Metro system, tried to prevent us from advertising our 2007 protest marking 40 years of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, until the ACLU went to bat for us as well. And, in the aftermath of Israel’s murderous “Operation Cast Lead,” DIRECTV reneged on a deal with us and refused to air this commercial that we produced: Why so much censorship when trying to present the facts about our complicity in Israeli occupation and apartheid? In the case of the “bus ad battle in Seattle,” the Seattle Times cites Metropolitan King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer, who played a pivotal role to ensure the censorship, provides this novel explanation: censorship was necessary to serve passengers “without inadvertently making them become the targets of deranged individuals incited by messages.” Wow. Is von Reichbauer saying that supporters of Israeli occupation and apartheid would be so upset by these ads as to become “deranged” and pose a danger to bus riders? Who else would be so “incited” by these ads?
With our collective sensitivity toward political violence heightened by the Tucson shooting, such a scenario cannot be discounted. But do Israel’s supporters seriously want to have to rely on public officials worrying about their “derangement” every time their beloved country is publicly criticized? It seems that public discourse towards Palestine/Israel is nearing a tipping point if elected officials are now expressing concerns about violent reactions from Israel’s supporters. In many respects, von Reichbauer is correct to worry about the potential public safety impact of these ads from “deranged individuals.” We’ve seen acts of violence—physical and verbal—up close and personal in previous ads campaigns that we’ve run. In 2008, we crashed Israel’s 60th birthday party on the National Mall and the AIPAC annual policy conference with a moving billboard mounted on a truck marking 60 years of the Nakba. Here’s the video:While sitting in the passenger seat of the truck, I witnessed a knife-wielding individual attack it in an attempt to tear down the ad. Our African-American driver was repeatedly subjected to the most vile, racist slurs imaginable. He told us that after driving hundreds of moving billboards campaigns, he had never seen such a heated reaction. Yet potential violent reactions to free speech are not grounds for censorship. ACLU Washington Executive Director Kathleen Taylor got it exactly right. “The purpose of the First Amendment,” Taylor stated, “is to protect speech that is difficult to hear and that makes people uncomfortable. Mild speech doesn't need our protection.” We’ll continue doing our work to educate our fellow citizens about Israel’s war crimes and our complicity in them. We always do so factually and rationally. If Israel’s apologists need to rely on their potential “derangement” to suppress this conversation, then it seems that we are on the right track.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
by Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director What do a free market Israeli think tank and Israel’s leading business newspaper have in common? Yes, both promote Israeli business interests, obviously. But, more interestingly, each has called for ending U.S. military aid to Israel in recent days. On January 12, Israeli economist Yarden Gazit published a paper for the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS), arguing that U.S. military aid to the Middle East is fueling an unsustainable arms race. Gazit estimates, for example, that for every dollar in U.S. aid provided to Egypt, Israel must spend between $1.6-2.1 to maintain its qualitative military edge. Since approximately 75% of U.S. military aid to Israel must be spent on U.S. weapons (this is a special exemption for Israel written into U.S. law—all other countries receiving U.S. aid are required to spend 100% of their grant on U.S. weapons), Gazit figures that Israeli military industries lose up to $750 million per year on weapons orders that could be filled domestically. JIMS’s conclusion: "US aid is a net loss for Israel and Israel would be better off without it." On January 19, Israeli journalist Ran Dagoni wrote in Globes that: “The time has come to bid goodbye to the military aid that the US extends to Israel, that generous package (currently worth $3 billion) that enables the Israeli taxpayer to share the cost of procuring equipment for the IDF with the US taxpayer. Israel should itself initiate the process of detachment from the Washington breast. It should be done gradually, on terms that will enable Israel to wean itself off this intoxicating milk, before the Americans take action, on their terms. Israel won't collapse.” Dagoni analyzes Israel’s rising economic prospects and the United States’ declining fiscal realities, combined with the ascendance of the Tea Party and its small government philosophy, to conclude that Israel can and should negotiate an agreement with the United States to purchase weapons on the open market in the future. Unfortunately neither the think tank nor the newspaper considers the human costs to Palestinians of U.S. military aid to Israel. But then again, that’s our job. Since September 2000, Israel has killed more than 3,000 unarmed Palestinian civilians according to the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem, often with U.S. weapons in flagrant violation of the Arms Export Control Act, which limits the use of U.S. weapons to “internal security” and “legitimate self-defense.” Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestinian land and its apartheid policies toward Palestinians are neither. As President Obama prepares his State of the Union address and puts the final touches on his FY2012 budget request to Congress, which is expected to include a record-breaking $3,075,000,000 in military aid to Israel, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is gearing up to challenge this year’s appropriation. According to our data at our interactive website www.aidtoisrael.org, this year’s military aid package to Israel could be much more wisely spent to provide 373,376 low-income families with affordable housing vouchers; or retrain 495,640 unemployed workers for green jobs; or educate 909,204 at-risk youth through early reading programs; or supply basic health care services to 24,902,818 people lacking insurance. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be re-launching an upgraded version of this website, sending updated and expanded packets to volunteers who want to organize in their communities to end military aid to Israel, and originating an open letter and ad campaign to challenge the President’s request for yet more money for Israel. Stay tuned! Who knows, this year with Israeli business interests in support of our campaign (although from very different perspectives), we may actually succeed in our drive to condition or end U.S. military aid to Israel.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
|Photo: Flickr / eremi|
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
- Every Israeli border guard manning a checkpoint and every soldier committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip takes their orders through a Motorola device because Motorola has the exclusive contract to provide the Israeli military with encrypted mobile phone technology.
- Motorola "virtual fences" and surveillance systems are used at dozens of illegal Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land.
- Motorola also has close ties with Aeronautics Defense Systems (ADS), which makes drone aircraft used by Israel. Motorola sold their bomb fuse division to ADS, just after Human Rights Watch found debris from Motorola bomb components scattered through rubble in the Gaza Strip.