2003 – 2008

March 2003

  • Project founded with 10 initial members.

April — May 2003

  • Two public showings of the film Gaza Strip.

September 2003 — November 2003

  • Working Meeting: agenda for the Delegation Committee, City Council Committee, Material Aid Committee, Literature Table Committee, website coordinator, and treasurer.
  • Palestinian Labor Tour: representatives of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions and The Farmers Union touring the United States. Two of the delegates also represented the “Stop the Wall” campaign.
  • Toward a Peaceful World conference at Edgewood College with speakers Adam Shapiro of the International Solidarity Movement and Jennifer Loewenstein of the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project.
  • Five Presentations on Palestine series at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church by Pastor Bruce Burnside on his three-month sabbatical in Palestine, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Israel.
  • Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land: U.S. Media & The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  • Reporting the Middle East Lecture Series in Madison with Amira Hass, Ali Abunimah, As’ad Abukhalil and Robert Fisk. Rainbow Bookstore and the Isthmus strike a blow for freedom of speech during Ali Abunimah’s appearance at MATC.

January 2004

  • Delegation to Rafah: of three members traveling (George Arida, Cisco Bradley, and Jennifer Loewenstein), only Jennifer was allowed by Israel to enter Gaza. Jennifer met with the Women’s Empowerment Project of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, Human Appeal-Rafah, the Al Amal Rehabilitation Society, the Popular Refugee Committee, representatives of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, and Mayor Said Zoroub, Deputy Mayor Emad Shaath, and City Manager Ali Barhom of Rafah. Jennifer was hosted by the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights.

March — July 2004

  • Rachel Corrie commemoration with the Madison premiere of The Killing Zone and talks by Laura Gordon and Cheryl Broderson, Rachel’s aunt.
  • Visit by representatives of Neve Shalom — Wahat al-Salaam, a village jointly established by Jewish and Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, to East High School.
  • Talk by Muli Linder of Courage to Refuse, an Israeli refusenik group.
  • “Balata Installation Tour”, a traveling exhibit about the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank.
  • Program by representatives of MOSAIC Communities multinational housing cooperatives, a non-governmental, non-profit initiative to establish and strengthen mixed communities throughout Israel on the basis of equal rights for all.
  • Approximately $2,000 raised to help rebuild water wells in Rafah. First material aid project.

Sister City Campaign
From spring to summer of 2004 the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project attempted to win official sister city status from the City of Madison. We met with a majority of the 20-member Common Council to explain the issues and purposes involved. Many indicated their support, the Common Council’s Committee on Sister City Projects approved our application, and chances of success looked very good.

Then a very strong attack was launched by the Madison Jewish Community Council (MJCC), who characterized our project as anti-Semitic and accused a Rafah partner, Mayor Said Zoroub, of association with terrorist activity. An organized campaign by MJCC put heavy political pressure on the Alders. In a climactic vote, the majority of Alders present voted in favor of the project, but by Council rule the proposal lost by one vote. Mayor Dave Cieslewicz had announced in advance that he would veto the Council resolution if it approved our project, a rare occurrence in Madison government.

Although we lost this close vote, we felt that much was gained through discussion and public education. Our campaign was heavily covered by local media and appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, Ha’aretz, Maariv, Jerusalem Post, Associated Press, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Voice of America and other outlets.

The Project gathered a broad range of community support reflected in the testimony on our behalf during six hours of council debate. We secured the endorsement of the Capital Times. The campaign solidified our ties with other Madison sister city groups and positioned us firmly within the local anti-war and progressive movements. It also decisively exploded the myth of a monolithic Jewish community in Madison.

August 2004

  • Madison appearance of the “Stop the Wall Tour” with John Reese and Erica Kay, showing John Pilger’s film Palestine is Still the Issue.
  • Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, spoke on the work of the International Center of Bethlehem, promoting a civil society in Palestine by training future leaders and developing human resources.

September – November 2004

  • WHEELS OF JUSTICE TOUR. The Madison Area Peace Coalition and Madison-Rafah Sister City Project hosted the Tour, bringing eyewitness accounts from Iraq and Palestine to challenge and educate Americans about the repercussions of war and occupation, both on people abroad and at home.
  • Film: The Fourth World War, Madison premiere hosted by producers/directors Rick Rowley and Jacqueline Soohen. MRSCP is one of the co-sponsors of this showing. Shot on the front lines of struggles spanning five continents, The Fourth World War is the untold story of people who resist being annihilated in the current global conflict.
  • Talk by Noam Bahat and Shimri Zamaret of the Shimistim high school draft refusal group, including visits to several area high schools.

January 2005

  • Delegation to Rafah: member Kathy Walsh and her daughter entered Gaza with American Near East Refugee Aid and Playgrounds for Palestine. The delegation was hosted mainly by Fatma Khatib of the General Union of Palestinian Women, and visited schools, hospitals and public officials.
  • Two showings of Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land at UW and Edgewood, with panelists from the local media.

February-March 2005

April 2005

June 2005

September — December 2005

March 2006

  • Over $6,000 raised by the Milk for Rafah Campaign was diverted, with permission from the major donors, to the Middle East Children’s Alliance for emergency food parcels in Rafah. The original plan to supply Wisconsin powdered milk to Rafah was dropped due to the uncertainty of Israeli border crossing delays. Madison-Rafah material aid to-date totals over $20,500.

April 2006

June 2006

  • Operations “Summer Rains” and “Autumn Clouds”, June 28 – November 26, 2006. The first major ground operation in the Gaza Strip since Israel’s disengagement in 2005, after the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

December 2006

February 2007

April — May 2007

  • The “Bitter Harvest” speaker and film series commemorating 40 years of the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Speakers included Fawwaz Trabulsi, Laila El-Haddad, Sara Roy and Jonathan Cook. The series included a “Three Women of Jerusalem” tour which appeared at three local high schools and two public talks.
  • “Palestinian Crafts Extravaganza” at Escape Java Joint with Palestinian food, dance and crafts sales.

August 2007

  • Milwaukee Arab Fest Booth, tabling and selling crafts and olive oil.

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

  • Overture Center’s International Festival, with Palestinian embroidery, soap and olive from MRSCP
  • Celebration of Trees by Jewish Voice for Peace – Madison
  • Film Series: The Sorrows of Palestine continues
  • Play about slain activist Rachel Corrie coming to Madison
  • Operation “Hot Winter”, February 28 – March 3, 2008. Israeli invasion of Gaza.

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September-October 2008

November-December 2008