Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Join Us to Deliver 30,000 Signatures of Support to Church Leaders

Tomorrow is the UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. We and our friends at Kairos USA will be delivering more than 30,000 signatures of support to the 15 courageous church leaders who called on Congress to investigate Israel's misuse of U.S. weapons. 

If you're in DC, please join us for a press conference tomorrow, Thursday, November 29 at 10:00am at the United Methodist Building, 100 Maryland Ave. NE. If you can't make it in person, watch the live-stream of the event from anywhere in the world. 

Calls for ending military aid to Israel are increasing, especially after this latest assault on Gaza that killed 130 Palestinians, including 30 children. Today 52 leading international figures released a statement "Now is the time for a military embargo on Israel!" 
Military ties with Israel have fueled relentless acts of aggression. Israel continues to entrench its subjugation of Palestinians while provoking or initiating armed conflict with its neighbors in the region.
Israel’s attempt to justify this kind of illegal use of belligerent and disproportionate military force as “self-defense” does not stand up to legal — or moral — scrutiny, as states cannot invoke self-defense for acts that serve to defend an unlawful situation which they have created in the first place[2].
We therefore support the call from Palestinian civil society for an urgent and comprehensive military embargo on Israel as an effective, non-violent measure to stop Israel’s wars and repression and to bring about Israel’s compliance with its obligations under international law. This is now a moral and legal imperative to achieve a just and comprehensive peace.
Signatories include Nobel Peace laureates Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Perez Esquível, former Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters, Directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker, international best-seller Naomi Klein and co-drafter of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Holocaust survivor Stéphane Hessel. Read the full letter with complete list of signatories

You can organize to end U.S. military aid to Israel by signing up on our website. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Petition: No to Technion in NYC!

Our member group New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership has started a petition asking the city of New York and Cornell University end their collaboration with The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, especially in light of Israel's most recent military assault on Gaza. The text of the petition is below. Sign then share it with your friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter using #StopTechnion.  

Dear Elected Officials: Carolyn Maloney, Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Micah Kellner, and Jose Serrano:


We, residents of your District and concerned individuals, are deeply troubled by the proposed plan for Cornell University to partner with The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology to build a campus on Roosevelt Island. 

We are particularly concerned in light of the recent Israeli assault on Gaza, which began on November 14 and lasted 8 days, killing and maiming hundreds, perhaps thousands of civilians including children, and destroying homes and infrastructure.

On November 18, four days into the Israeli assault on Gaza, as civilians were being massacred, Cornell University President David Skorton visited The Technion in Haifa, Israel as “a true friend of the State Israel.” This visit at the height of Israel’s assault shows institutional support by Cornell for Israel’s aggressive attack, and a shameful disregard for Palestinian lives. Skorton’s visit in turn undermines the sincerity of claims he has made that academics should “connect with colleagues in Israel and the Palestinian Territories."

In a clear violation of the First Amendment, a recent peaceful demonstration at Cornell University’s main campus in Ithaca in support of the people of Gaza was aggressively repressed after pro-Israel students contacted the police claiming the gathering violated Cornell’s campus code because it was held without a permit. However, Cornell University’s Campus Code of Conduct clearly states that there is “no need for a mandatory permit” for such outdoor demonstrations.

We understand that New York City needs to invest in education and training opportunities; however, this should not come at the expense of others who are not given that chance and who suffer human rights abuses. The Technion is deeply involved in the development of weaponized and surveillance drones and has joint programs with two of Israel’s largest weapons manufacturers: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, with which Technion graduates developed the Iron Dome missile defense system used in the recent assault on Gaza; and Elbit Systems, which manufactures Hermes drones used to terrorize and kill civilians in Gaza.

Technologies developed at The Technion and by Technion graduates at companies like these are used to destroy Palestinian houses, farms, business and government buildings, expropriate their water sources, drive them off their land, suppress demonstrations for their rights, and carry out attacks against people in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, and elsewhere in the region. The Technion is thus directly implicated in war crimes. Detailed information and sources can be found on the NYACT website.

You may not know that The Technion practices institutional discrimination against Palestinian students by severely restricting their freedom of speech and assembly and rewarding Jewish students who, unlike the majority of Palestinians, perform compulsory military service in Israel. Not only do these facts contradict New York City and New York State non-discrimination and equal opportunity laws and Cornell University’s own bylaws, they directly contrast the ideals embodied by the recently opened Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island. The park was built to commemorate President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s stated goals of achieving and preserving freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. When President Roosevelt made that speech in 1941, he said that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy those four freedoms, a sentiment which surely must apply to the Palestinian people, as well as all others. 

Now that Cornell NYC Tech has entered into the seven-month Uniform Land Use Review Process, there is an urgent need to take a stand. This review process enables an opportunity to express opposition to Cornell’s partnership with The Technion and to stand up for your District community’s interests.


Petition:
We ask that you, our Elected Officials, voice our concerns and demand:

1. That the City of New York ends this collaboration, for which $100 million of New Yorker tax-payer money has been promised

2. That Cornell University end its partnership with The Technion, in line with the call by the Palestinian Council for Higher Education’s request for “non-cooperation in the scientific and technical fields between Palestinian and Israeli universities.”

We are confident that you will take seriously the important issues raised in this letter.

Sign the petition.

Friday, November 16, 2012

As Children Killed, Israel Supporters Celebrate

Last night a march from the State Department to the White House organized by Palestinian activists to demand Obama pressure Israel to implement an immediate ceasefire and end US military aid was greeted by a group of Israel supporters singing and dancing. Watch what our National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner had to say to this celebration of death. 


View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.

Want to do something for Gaza? Join a protest in your city and then organize a boycott SodaStream action on Black Friday! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

UC-Irvine Students Pass Divestment Resolution

On Tuesday, November 13, the Associated Students of University of California-Irvine voted 16-0 to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestine, including from companies that contribute to illegal settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories. The effort was led by the Students for Justice in Palestine at UC-Irvine and targets several companies, including Caterpillar, Cemex, and SodaStream. 

This historic victory is even more impressive considering the case of the Irvine 11 involving students who were arrested back in February 2010 for speaking out in opposition to Israeli policies during a speech delivered by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren on campus. 

The press release and video of the vote are below. Interestingly, the Israeli website Ynet published an article just 9 days ago touting how pro-Israel activity is flourishing on California campuses. "Irvine University in California has become a hotbed of pro-Israel activity, only two years after an anti-Israeli attack on former envoy Michael Oren during a speech on campus," claimed the reporter. (h/t @grinhoyz)


UC Irvine students pass historic legislation urging divestment from human rights abuses in Palestine




(IRVINE, CALIF., 11/13/2012)– In an historic move that could initiate a domino effect across America’s campuses, the Associated Students of UC Irvine voted unanimously to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestine, including from companies that contribute to illegal settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

With 16 votes in favor, 0 abstentions, and 0 opposed, the elected undergraduate student representatives of the University of California Irvine unanimously passed a resolution urging the University to withdraw its investment funds from Caterpillar, General Electric Company, Hewlett Packard, Raytheon, and other companies profiting from human rights violations in the occupied territories. The students also pledged to further examine UC assets for investments in companies that profit from human rights abuses anywhere in the world. 

The resolution was drafted in response to the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel as a means to force it to comply with international law and end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza; allow Palestinian refugees their internationally guaranteed right to return to their homes and villages; and grant equal rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel. Other divestment successes have occurred at Hampshire College and Evergreen State College, as well as the WeDivest campaign which focuses on pension fund giant TIAA CREF and has resulted in, among other things, the removal of Caterpillar from its Social Choice Funds. 

Sabreen Shalabi, the student representative on the legislative council for the school of social science and co-author of the legislation said, “I am very proud of my fellow council members and of the students at our University. Our work today stands tall in the noble tradition of students advocating for justice, joining the ranks of those brave and visionary students who demanded that our Universities divest from the terrible crimes of South African apartheid.” 

Traci Ishigo, President of the Associated Student of UCI and a member of the UC Irvine Foundation, said “The decision made by ASUCI’s legislative Council tonight clearly shows the strength and integrity of students utilizing their collective power to protect human rights on a global scale and I stand firmly by the students who believe it is their responsibility to have a voice on matters that urge the UC to be an institution that treasures human dignity.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

PA Seeking to Become Non-Member State

The Palestinian Authority is planning on going ahead with its plan to get the United Nations to recognize Palestine as a "non-member state" on November 29, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, despite opposition from both Israel and the United States.

This vote at the General Assembly could have profound implications for the ability of Palestinians to hold Israel accountable in international courts for its violations of human rights and international law and for the imposition of additional US sanctions against both Palestinians and the United Nations.

We have several resources to help you understand these issues.

1. Listen to a recording of our conference call with Omar Dajani and Phyllis Bennis discussing the implications of Palestine becoming a "non-member state" and what this means for our organizing to change U.S. policy to support human rights, international law, and equality.

2. Read our recently updated FAQ's about Palestine UN Membership and Statehood Recognition.

3. Share the recording with your friends on Facebook and tweet to your followers on Twitter. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Israel to Adorn Wall with Art for PR

Israel's Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein has decided that the international media attention on the apartheid wall, from a public relations standpoint, has been a burden on Israel and it is time for the Israeli government to deal with this problem.  

So what does he suggest to deal with this issue in order to help Israel's public diplomacy efforts? Not to dismantle the wall and actually end Israel's occupation and apartheid policies toward Palestinians. No, what Israel needs to do is "paint pictures on the wall displaying information on terrorist attacks that originated in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas and on attacks that were prevented due to the existence of the barrier." The ministry will be working with Israeli artists and schoolchildren to make this happen. 

This is just the latest example of Israeli propaganda efforts and highlights the use of art to whitewash Israel's crimes. Check out how you can get involved with cultural boycott efforts through our member group the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

Monday, November 5, 2012

Palestinian Home Demolished for the Sixth Time

From our member group the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA


Israeli authorities demolished Beit Arabiya (“Arabiya’s House”) on the moring of November 1, 2012 for the sixth consecutive time since 1998. It was reconstructed in July of this year in the aftermath of its fifth demolition in January 2012. 


Beit Arabiya, located in the West Bank town of Anata (Area C) just to the northeast of Jerusalem, is a living symbol of resistance to Occupation and the desire for justice and peace. Beit Arabiya is a home belonging to Arabiya Shawamreh, her husband Salim, and their seven children, a Palestinian family whose home has been demolished five times by the Israeli authorities and rebuilt each time by ICAHD’s Palestinian, Israeli, and international peace activists.

Arabiya and Salim have dedicated their home as a center for peace in the memories of Rachel Corrie and Nuha Sweidan, two women (an American and a Palestinian) who died resisting home demolitions in Gaza. In the past decade ICAHD has hosted numerous visitors at Beit Arabiya, and based its annual rebuilding camp at the house, rebuilding 186 demolished Palestinian homes.

Beit Arabiya was recently rebuilt during ICAHD’s tenth annual rebuilding camp that attracted more than thirty internationals, that stood side by side with Israelis and Palestinians who refuse to be enemies, demonstrating that there are partners for peace. Within two weeks, the pile of rubble left after the demolition of the house in the middle of night on 23 January earlier this year, was transformed into a fully functioning house with extensive terrace, made possible by nearly one hundred additional volunteers, including international youth, part of summer delegations to Palestine.

Every year hundreds of Palestinians are forced from their homes, homes built on land they own. Since 1967 Israel has demolished more than 26,000 Palestinian homes in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. ICAHD has rebuilt a total of 186 Palestinian homes illegally demolished by Israel and is determined to see this illegal policy stop. 

In June 2012 the United Nations Human Rights Council received the annual report of Prof. Richard Falk, Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the OPT. Falk highlighted the disturbing case of Salim and Arabiya Shawamreh, and stated it was “illustrative of a common Palestinian complaint that their property rights are indirectly usurped through the denial of formal permits and the subsequent issuance and execution of demolition orders.” The UN expert further highlighted that “
while it will be rebuilt once again next month, the family will live under the threat of having its home demolished at any moment. The ever-present threat of Israeli bulldozers perverts the sense of normalcy so essential for raising children.” 

Continue Reading 

Organize to end US military aid to Israel. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Take Action: Palestinian Activist Not Allowed To Travel Through Jordan

Iyad Burnat, a Palestinian activist from Bil'in, was on his way to the United States to give presentations in more than 15 states describing his work for peace and justice. 

On Thursday November 1, Iyad was allowed by the Israelis to cross the border on his way to Amman, Jordan for his flight to the United States, but he was detained by the Jordanian border officials, who refused him entry into Jordan.  He is currently back in Bil’in awaiting the resolution of this matter so that he can continue on his journey.

Help Iyad get to the United States by contacting the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, DC

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan


3504 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008



Telephone: (202) 966-2664

Fax: (202) 966–3110

Email: hkjembassydc@jordanembassyus.org

You can say:

"I am writing/calling to request that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan please allow Mr. Iyad Burnat of Bil’in, Palestine to travel to Amman for his flight to the United States.  Mr. Iyad is scheduled for a series of speaking engagements in the US from November 2012 to February 2013.  The invitation to the U.S. was extended by Jewish Voice for Peace and Interfaith Peace Builders. Mr. Iyad is coming to the United States to give presentations describing his work for peace and justice, work that he carries out in conjunction with Israeli and international peace activists who are dedicated to non-violence and human rights for all people. I am appealing to the Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to please allow Mr. Iyad to cross the border so that he may fly from the airport in Amman."

If you can add that you are affiliated with an organization, that would be helpful. Emphasize that lots of Americans are waiting to hear these presentations and that he was released to travel by Israeli authorities.