Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Iyad Burnat, activist featured in 5 Broken Cameras, Speaking in DC

Iyad Burnat, leader of Bil'in's Popular Committee, will be speaking in DC this weekend about his village's resistance to Israel's building of the apartheid wall, which deprives them from their farmland. Iyad's brother Emad is the co-director of the Oscar-nominated documentary 5 Broken Cameras. Check out one of the events below. You can learn more about Bil'n and their popular struggle against occupation here


Palestine's Nonviolent Struggle

Sunday, February 3, 9:00am-11:00am
Busboys and Poets
2021 14th Street NW, Washington DC
RSVP on Facebook 

Sunday, February 3, 1:00pm
Plymouth Church
5301 North Capitol Street NE, Washington DC
RSVP on Facebook

Monday, February 4, 12:30pm-2:00pm
The Palestine Center
2425 Virginia Ave NW, Washington DC

Monday, January 28, 2013

Event: Palestinian Statehood: What Happens Next?


From our member group Committee for Palestinian Rights. 

Palestinian Statehood: What Happens Next?
A talk by Mark Croatti
Wednesday, January 30 at 7:00 p.m.
Howard County Central Library
10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy.
Columbia, MD  21044

Now that the United Nations has recognized Palestine as a non-member observer state, what happens next? A two-state solution? A one-state solution? And how would either scenario affect the state of Israel?

Mark Croatti teaches Comparative Politics at George Washington University and has taught Middle East Politics at University of Maryland Baltimore County, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Johns Hopkins University and University of Oregon.

Free and open to the public.

Sponsor: Committee for Palestinian Rights
For more info: CPR_Maryland@yahoo.com

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Activists Gather on MLK Day to Protest Cornell-Technion Partnership

Press release from our member group New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership. See pictures of the protest here. Their next planned action is on Tuesday, January 29 from 5:00pm-7:00pm. Find details here


Protesters outnumbered students on a blustery Martin Luther King Day as the New York Cornell-Technion Partnership held its first day of classes at Google’s Chelsea offices in Manhattan.

Cornell University always holds classes on this holiday, and the annual insult to Dr. King’s memory is sadly fitting with the support for racism the school is showing by pairing with The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel’s foremost research and develop institution for weapons (including drones), surveillance systems, and other instruments of death and destruction used to maintain an apartheid system against Palestinians and for use in wars against Israel’s Arab neighbors.

The 25 New Yorkers leafleting against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (contrasting the eight students inside, according to the New York Times), denounced Google’s gift of free office space to the Partnership, as well as the $100 million in funds and $300 million in real estate given by the City of New York to the questionably fast-tracked venture.

Protesters also gathered signatures on a petition demanding an end to private and public support for the Partnership (online at: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/no-to-technion-in-nyc.html).

The campaign against the Cornell-Technion Partnership is part of a global effort in support of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against institutions doing business with apartheid Israel.

Regular classes will be held at the Google offices until the main campus opens on Roosevelt Island in 2017. Among those handing out flyers and talking to workers and students from the Google building as well as Chelsea residents were several Cornell University students outraged at the Partnership’s violation of Cornell’s own rules for consulting staff and faculty over such business deals.

What’s more, Cornell, its partners, and the media have failed to report that Technion is complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and the rights of Palestinians, specifically by designing military weapons and developing technologies that are used to drive Palestinians off their land, suppress demonstrations for their rights, and carry out attacks against people in Lebanon, Gaza, and elsewhere. For these reasons, Technion is directly implicated in war crimes.  Furthermore, Technion practices institutional discrimination against Palestinian students by severely restricting their freedom of speech and assembly, and rewarding Jewish students who, unlike most Palestinians, perform compulsory military service in Israel. This is in direct contrast to Cornell University’s founding values of universalism and inclusion embodied in the university’s motto “any person any study.”

NYACT has also denounced the callous disregard for the health, safety and housing needs of Roosevelt Island residents. As construction begins for the eventual permanent Partnership site on the Island, homes are being torn down, and patients are being kicked out of the City hospital system’s Coler-Goldwater long-term care facilities. New Yorkers with serious disabilities and life-threatening medical conditions are being displaced by the City in deference to the Partnership. NYACT has attended several Roosevelt Island community meetings to forge an alliance with residents, patients and healthcare workers whose lives are being disrupted or even jeopardized by Cornell and Technion.
         
NYACT and supporters will host a regular leafleting vigil every other Tuesday starting January 29th, from 5-7pm, at the Google offices,
111 Eighth Ave (at 15th St), New York City
For more information:
www.NYACT.net
NYACT@riseup.net
New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT)

Friday, January 18, 2013

No to Technion in NYC Action!

From our member group New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership.

Join us on the first day of Cornell NYC Tech classes to leaflet and gather signatures.



When: Monday, January 21, 4-6pm
Where: 111 Eighth Ave (at 15th St), NYC

Classes are to be held in donated temporary space at the Google offices until the main campus opens on Roosevelt Island in 2017.  NYACT will be distributing information outside the Google offices about The Technion’s involvement in developing remote controlled bulldozers, stealth drones, and protection systems for battle tanks used by Israel to destroy Palestinian houses and olive groves, assassinate Palestinian civilians, and rain terror from above in Gaza, as well as The Technion’s ongoing collaborations with major surveillance and weapons manufacturers.

Say No to Technion in NYC!

Support the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)

Sign the petition here: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/no-to-technion-in-nyc.html

For more information go to www.NYACT.net or email NYACT@riseup.net.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Veolia Action in St. Louis

Press release from our member group St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


January 16, 2013

Contacts:

Anna Baltzer, St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, info@stl-psc.org
Kat Logan Smith, Missouri Coalition of the Environment, klogansmith@moenviron.org

Residents to Pack City Board Meeting in Protest of Water Contract with Veolia, Renowned for Shoddy Environmental, Human Rights, Labor Practices

St. Louis, Missouri -- St. Louis Dump Veolia, a diverse coalition of environmental, labor, and human rights activists, is calling on the city’s Board of Estimate & Apportionment (E&A) to vote down a proposed contract with Veolia Water to guide cost-cutting for the St. Louis Water Division. The coalition is deeply troubled by the company’s record of irresponsible environmental practices, human rights violations, mismanagement, anti-labor practices, corruption, bribery, embezzlement, fraud, and failure to make good on promised improvements.
 
The Board, comprised of Mayor Francis Slay, Comptroller Darlene Green, and Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, will meet Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 2pm in the Room 200 of City Hall to consider contracts. At its December meeting, following public outcry, the Board voted to shelve the contract, calling for an investigation into Veolia by a selection committee chaired by the Mayor’s office. The contract was put back on last Friday, later than is usual. The coalition mobilized heavily to stop it and at the time of this press release, the contract had been removed from the agenda.

The contract can be reintroduced at any time. Concerned residents plan to pack the meeting, which is open to the press and the public.

According to one member of the City’s committee tasked with researching Veolia, the group has not been convened. Several local organizations including the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, and St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as individual city residents, have filed requests under the Sunshine Act for records and results of any such investigation.

“If Veolia performs consistently with its own record, our pocketbooks will not be safe, our drinking water will not be healthy, and our environment will not be protected,” said Kathleen Logan Smith, Executive Director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “St. Louis should dump Veolia now.”

“Veolia offers its services under the guise of “cutting costs” and providing “efficiency”.  However, we see in town after town, cutting costs means cutting jobs or eliminating pensions.  Almost all studies show that one of the biggest sources of job creation is to invest in public infrastructure.  St. Louis City needs to keep our public works in the hands of the public, NOT a private overseas corporation” said Arielle Klagsbrun of Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment

Sandra Tamari of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee explained: “My family lives in the occupied West Bank, where Israel has implemented a system of segregated roads and buses, some of which Veolia operates. If we tried to board these buses, we would be forced off simply because of our ethnicity and religion. If St. Louis stands against segregation in the U.S., it should not support corporations profiting from segregation elsewhere.”

“The city has serious water infrastructure needs but we question the value of this costly consulting contract with a company that has such a questionable record, “said Caroline Pufalt, Sierra Club Conservation Chair.

Veolia’s illegal activities in Israel/Palestine and other notorious practices have made it the target of corporate accountability campaigns worldwide. The company has lost an estimated $16 billion to date in cancelled or withdrawn contracts following advocacy. Parent company Veolia’s hometown Paris, France chose not to renew its contract with the company.

In 2007, Mayor Slay received a trophy and award check for $15,000 from the President of Veolia Water.

###

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Palestinians Don't Need More Aid

Nadia Hijab is a co-founder of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and serves on the Advisory Board. This letter was published in The New York Times

What Palestinians Need
January 14, 2013 


Your Jan. 11 editorial “
Financial Crisis in the West Bank” is absolutely right: This problem should not be “swept under the rug.”

But blaming rich Arab countries for the Palestinians’ financial situation is not the answer. Since 1993 Arab countries, Europe and the United States have poured billions into occupied Palestinian territory to support the “peace process.” They’ve basically ended up paying for Israel’s occupation and colonization and relieving it of its international obligations. Why pay more?
Palestinians cannot develop a thriving economy while Israel controls the movement of people and goods to and from the West Bank (from Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, on down) and almost all movement to Gaza, while swallowing up most land and water resources.
Palestinians don’t need more aid. They need American political clout to end the occupation as the first step to a just and lasting peace.
NADIA HIJAB
Nice, France, Jan. 11, 2013
The writer is director of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network and an author and commentator.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Apply for $1000 Scholarship to Palestine/Israel

Our member group Interfaith Peace-Builders is offering two $1,000 Scholarships for students and young adults who travel on a Summer 2013 Delegation. Deadline to apply is January 18!


WHY SHOULD YOU PARTICIPATE?

Be an Eye Witness: Move beyond research and gain first-hand experience on the ground.

Network: Meet and build relationships with key players working towards peace and justice.

Build Personal Connections: Hear from people directly affected by the conflict, from various viewpoints.

Test your Knowledge: See how the realities on the ground compare to what you have already learned.

Interfaith Peace-Builders has led 45 delegations and taken more than 750 people to Israel/Palestine. 

SUMMER 2013 DELEGATION DATES

May 25-June 7: An Honest Broker? The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

August 10-23  

WHO CAN APPLY?

IFPB welcomes any current student or young adult (age 18-30) to apply for consideration for these two scholarships.

To apply, fill out and submit the application form by January 18, 2013.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Why is HRW Unwilling to Stand with Human Rights Defenders?

Phyllis Bennis is co-founder of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. 


Human Rights Watch: Time to stand with human rights defenders
It is disappointing to see HRW's unwillingness to stand with those who are working to promote and defend human rights.
Al Jazeera English
January 9, 2013


When the UN Human Rights Council sends its independent investigators, known as Special Rapporteurs, around the globe to investigate the denial of various human rights, it's not unusual for governments accused of violating those rights to go pretty far to keep them out. 


So when Israeli security personnel
 detained Professor Richard Falk at Tel Aviv airport in December 2008, imprisoning him in a crowded, filthy jail cell overnight and expelling him the next day, it wasn't particularly surprising. Falk had recently taken on the role of United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and Israel had made clear it had no intention of co-operating with his mandate or of implementing its obligations as a UN member to facilitate Falk's official missions.  As the Occupying Power, Israel has for years responded with outrage to human rights criticism and, with US backing, has increasingly directly repudiated UN authority and legitimacy. 


Perhaps it isn't even so unexpected that Falk - whose work has been scrupulously fair - has been criticised as well by Palestinian factions, including both Fatah and Hamas. 


But it's pretty rare for Special Rapporteurs to face condemnation, insult, attack from high-ranking UN officials, including the Secretary-General, or powerful diplomatic actors from their home country - such as US representative to the UN,
 Ambassador Susan Rice. Since taking on the mandate nearly five years ago, Falk has faced those attacks and more. 


Most of the attacks are the result of pressure campaigns launched by a small Geneva-based right-wing organisation called
 UN Watch. While hardly known outside of UN headquarters in Geneva, UN Watch has tried to make a name for itself among those bigger players also committed to undermining the United Nations and to uncritically defending every Israeli violation of human rights and international law. Undermining and delegitimising Richard Falk has been an obsession of UN Watch since he became Special Rapporteur.



Thursday, January 10, 2013

1,000 UC Students Sign Petition Against HR-35

Students voice their united opposition to California Resolution HR-35 and thank the UC Students Association for vocally opposing it while taking a morally consistent stand against racism. HR-35 proposes broad bans on student speech supporting Palestinian rights and criticizing discriminatory Israeli policies.
Today a petition signed by UC students and recent graduates who support the University of California’s Student Association (UCSA) resolution regarding HR-35 surpassed 1,000 signatures. Signers applauded UCSA “for standing up on behalf of the UC community and defending [their] right to advocate for human rights,” and for representing the “majority viewpoint at the UC which opposes racism in all forms, whether it be anti-Jewish acts by anti-Semites or anti-Palestinian policies undertaken by Israel in its discriminatory and illegal occupation.” The petitioners thanked the UCSA for its robust rebuke of State Assembly bill HR-35.
HR-35 is a non-binding resolution passed through the California State Assembly over the summer. The bill inappropriately labels criticism of Israeli state policy as anti-Semitic and recommends broad forms of censorship of students and faculty at the UC to prevent criticism of Israel.
Attorney Liz Jackson, cooperating counsel with the Center for Constitutional Rights characterized HR-35 as "an anti-democratic attempt to intimidate and silence students from expressing pro-Palestinian views." Jackson explained, "HR-35 mislabels advocacy for Palestinian rights as inherently anti-Semitic. This is a complete distortion of students' human rights advocacy. To argue that such speech should be restricted, as HR-35 does, is to decimate the principle of free speech and it is plainly unconstitutional."
HR-35 is part of a well-documented pattern of intimidation against those speaking out in support of Palestinian rights on UC/CSU campuses, noted in a recent letter from civil rights groups to the UC Administration. Its passage comes shortly after the release of a controversial Campus Climate report that recommends similar forms of censorship of pro-Palestinian students, ranging from limiting the pro-Palestinian speakers allowed on campus to “enforcing balance” when pro-Palestinian speakers do come to campus.
Both the climate report and HR-35 have been widely criticized and opposed by civil rights groups such as the National Lawyers Guild and Center for Constitutional Rights, community organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace and the Council on American Islamic Relations, and academic groups such as the California Scholars for Academic Freedom and the Middle East Studies Association. The ACLU of Northern California recently warned of the “chilling effect” that related federal lawsuits targeting Palestine human rights activists are having on UC students’ constitutionally protected speech rights.
UC Berkeley student Ley Cerezo added that “HR-35 inevitably encourages a climate of fear in a student body whose dedication to activism ought not to be censured nor even reserved for mere toleration, but celebrated in a system of public universities. Just as we speak out against the many injustices sustained by various bodies of government, so too do we continue our opposition to any illegitimate limitations on our speech.”
Today’s petition, signed exclusively by current and former UC students in the space of a few weeks, demonstrates the breadth of public opposition to censorship and attacks on the pro-Palestine community. Students say that as a new year starts and students return to campus, they look forward to collecting more signatures and building public awareness of threats to pro-Palestinian advocacy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

SodaStream Wants You to Host Fizz Parties to Support Occupation

People are being encouraged to host a SodaStream Fizz & Football House Party as part of SodaStream's advertising campaign during the Super Bowl. Use #SodaStreamParty and #BoycottSodaStream on Twitter to let people know all that is wrong with SodaStream

Also, make sure to submit your video for our 2013 Super Bowl SodaStream Spoof Ad ContestA supporter sent us these lyrics and let us know we can share them with others who might be interested in using them. Check them out below and make sure to submit your videos to boycottsodastream@gmail.com! 


From our member group JVP-DC.
Oy vey, I must tell you, SodaStream,
Your product really makes me squeam.
I wouldn’t have to write this verse
If what you’re doing were not perverse.
You know it’s illegal where you make it,
It’s just so exploitive, I can’t take it.
If in the West Bank you hadn’t settled,
I wouldn’t be so awfully nettled.
My friends and I won’t buy your fizzy
In hopes your factory won’t be busy.
If you weren’t using Palestinian land,
You wouldn’t find your product banned.
So stop production, move your plant,
Your sales might take an upward slant.
‘Til then your new type carbonation
To us is just an abomination.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Settlements Not a Problem According to Washington Post

The Washington Post Editorial Board started the New Year with an op-ed declaring that continued settlement expansion is not an obstacle to peace between Israelis and Palestinians and that the "overheated rhetoric" in reaction to the latest announcement of settlement construction is counterproductive to restarting negotiations. 
"The criticism is appropriate, in the sense that such unilateral action by Israel, like the unilateral Palestinian initiative to seek statehood recognition in November from the U.N. General Assembly, serves to complicate the negotiations that are the only realistic route to a Middle East peace. But the reaction is also counterproductive because it reinforces two mistaken but widely held notions: that the settlements are the principal obstacle to a deal and that further construction will make a Palestinian state impossible."
So the WP editors would have their readers believe that continued colonization of Palestinian land by Israel is not really an issue, and that it is imperative that the Security Council pressure the Palestinians to stop using settlements as an excuse to not getting back to negotiations. Guess their New Year's resolution is to promote hasbara talking points even more prominently. 

We would like to thank the WP editors for informing us of the fallacy of our efforts to end US support for Israeli occupation and apartheid, support that includes more than $3 billion in military aid annually and diplomatic protection at the United Nations by vetoing resolutions condemning continued settlement action. Apparently it is the oppressed Palestinian people who should be pressed to accommodate Israeli impunity, and that is how peace will happen. And don't mind the settlements. It's not like settlers have been committing acts of violence and vandalism against Palestinians without any consequence. 

You can send a letter to the editor- less than 200 words- to letters@washpost.com. Also sign up to organize to end military aid to Israel