Next Thursday, September 8th at 5pm at the Seattle Google campus (1000 Mercer Street Google office) join us as we stand in solidarity with Amazon and Google tech workers nationally, as they fight to end their companies contract with the Zionist Israeli military. pic.twitter.com/YLi7R96e6d
— Falastiniyat Seattle (@falastiniyat) September 1, 2022
Huge news just broke.
Today, tech worker organizer Ariel Koren, active in our #NoTechForApartheid campaign, resigned from Google. Her resignation letter cited Google’s retaliation and the silencing of Palestinian, Muslim, Arab, Jewish, and other workers speaking up for Palestinian freedom at the company.
The New York Times spoke to workers like Ariel organizing against a $1 billion contract with the Israeli military and apartheid government that enables surveillance and violence against Palestinians.
For the first time, Palestinian workers at Google publicly described the retaliation they’ve faced: “Project Nimbus makes me feel like I am making my living off my family’s oppression,” one of them said. But if they speak out, they face retaliation and threats of termination from Google.1
Google and Amazon workers are organizing against corporate contracts that fuel Israeli apartheid and state violence, and our solidarity with these workers is a show of power that increases the pressure to cut these contracts.
Google is trying to silence workers to protect their business interests, but next week, we’re turning up the pressure in solidarity with tech workers by holding direct actions at Google and Amazon offices across the country.
Tech worker organizing pressures Google and Amazon to end their contract with the Israeli military and government. Their divestment demands are clear: either stop harming Palestinians or face a devastating public relations and labor crisis.
As Ariel told the Times: “When Google and other folks retaliate against workers, it’s about creating a culture of fear. I think the opposite is true in this case — more workers took a stand.”
Amazon and Google want to believe they can get out of this by pushing workers out and creating a culture of fear to stifle worker organizing. Let’s make sure they know it’s not going to be that easy to avoid accountability.
Join us at a #NoTechForApartheid Day of Action next week, or if you don’t live in any of these key tech hubs, join us by making noise on social media today.
Thanks for all you do to further justice.
Lau, Granate, Linda, and the MPower Change team
1. “Google Employee Who Played Key Role in Protest of Contract With Israel Quits,” The New York Times, Aug. 30, 2022.
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We write because your administration’s consistently tepid and yielding response to the Israeli government’s escalating attacks against prominent Palestinian human rights and civil society groups over the past 10 months has put the safety and well-being of Palestinian human rights defenders at serious risk. We demand immediate action in response to the Israeli government’s latest escalation so as to curtail any further imminent repressive tactics by Israeli authorities and ensure Palestinian civil society is free to continue its critical work.
Last week, in a significant escalation, Israeli military forces raided the offices of seven Palestinian human rights and community organizations in the occupied West Bank on 18 August 2022, sealing shut their doors, ordering them closed, and seizing computers and other confidential materials. In the following days, directors of the organizations were summoned by the Israeli military and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) for interrogation. All staff are currently under threat of imminent arrest and prosecution. While many in the international community were swift to condemn the Israeli governments shameful political maneuver in October 2021 designating leading Palestinian human rights organizations as “terrorist” under Israel’s draconian Counter-Terrorism Law, your administration has refused to act or reject this clear attack on Palestinian civil society, and even took affirmative steps including canceling the valid U.S. visa held by the head of one of the targeted organizations. The response so far has only enabled and empowered the Israeli government to sustain and escalate its repression.
The targeted organizations form part of the bedrock of Palestinian civil society that has been protecting and advancing Palestinian human rights for decades across the full spectrum of issues of global concern, including children’s rights, prisoners’ rights, women’s rights, socio-economic rights, the rights of farmworkers, and justice and accountability for international crimes. They include: Defense for Children International – Palestine, Al Haq, Addameer, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees. They are trusted partners in our collective work to secure human rights for all.
Since the Israeli government officially outlawed these civil society groups, international human rights groups, the United Nations, and governments that did investigate Israel’s claims – found them to be baseless. This includes 10 European governments that dismissed the allegations in mid-July 2022. In a deeply troubling report released this week, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency reportedly assessed information passed on by the Israeli government earlier this year finding none of the so-called evidence supported the Israeli government claims. Additionally, members of Congress have called on your administration to condemn and reject the Israeli government’s clear attack on Palestinian civil society.
As groups committed to social justice, civil rights, and universal human rights, we have seen first hand the ways that the charge of “terrorist” and the so-called “war on terror” threatens not only international human rights defenders, but also social movements and marginalized communities here in the U.S.: Indigenous, Black, brown, Muslim, and Arab activists and communities have similarly faced silencing, intimidation, criminalization and surveillance under such baseless charges. A threat against the Palestinian human rights movement is a threat against movements for social justice everywhere, and in order to protect human rights and human rights defenders, all states must be held accountable for taking such manifestly unjust actions.
While our government has long offered unconditional support to the Israeli government, our movements and organizations will always stand first and foremost with the rights and safety of people.
Therefore, we the undersigned organizations, call on you, in your authority as President to immediately:
- Condemn the Israeli government’s repressive tactics and escalating campaign of criminalization and intimidation against Palestinian civil society organizations and their staff and board;
- Reject the Israeli government’s unsubstantiated accusations levied against Palestinian civil society organizations and demand Israeli authorities rescind the designations;
- Take diplomatic action, in concert with European counterparts, that serves to protect the targeted Palestinian organizations, their staff and board, premises, and other assets;
- Refrain from imposing any obstacles or policies that would prevent direct engagement between the U.S. government and Palestinian civil society, or otherwise preclude full, comprehensive public understanding of the severity and impacts of Israeli repression;
- End U.S. efforts to undermine the right of Palestinians and Palestinian civil society organizations to pursue justice and accountability, including at the International Criminal Court;
- Ensure no actions are taken at the federal level that in any way encumbers funding from U.S.-based organizations or individuals to the targeted Palestinian organizations; and
- Suspend U.S. military funding to the Israeli government and cease any diplomatic efforts that enable systemic impunity for Israel’s gross violations of internationally-recognized human rights.
Sincerely (signer list in progress):
Center for Constitutional Rights
Action Center on Race & the Economy
Adalah Justice Project
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
Al-Marsad – Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights Heights
American Friends Service Committee
American Muslim Bar Association
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Americans for Justice in Palestine Action
Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
Asamblea Permanente de Derechos Humanos de Bolivia (APDHB)
Asociación pro derechos humanos de España
Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos-APRODEH
Association tunisienne des femmes démocrates
Black Lives Matter Grassroots
Butler University Students for Justice in Palestine
Comision de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador
Charity & Security Network
Civil Liberties Defense Center
Civil Society Institute – Armenia
Colectivo de Abogados JAR
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Culture and Conflict Forum
Delawareans for Palestinian Human Rights (DelPHR)
Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights
Don’t Shoot Portland
Ecumenical Peace Institute/Clergy and Laity Concerned
Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network
Forum Tunisien pour les Droits Economiques et Sociaux
Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)
Fundación Regional de Asesoría en Derechos Humanos
Highlander Research & Education Center
Housing and Land Rights Network – Habitat International Coalition
HRM “Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan”
ICNA Council for Social Justice
Indiana Center for Middle East Peace
Instituto Latinoamericano para una Sociedad y un Derecho Alternativos ILSA
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Internationale Liga für Menschenrechte
Islamophobia Studies CenterJahalin Solidarity
Jewish Voice for Peace Action (JVP Action)
Jewish Voice for Peace Central Ohio
Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven
Jewish Voice for Peace Los Angeles
Jewish Voice for Peace Tacoma chapter
Justiça Global, Brasil
LDH (Ligue des droits de l’Homme – France)
Liga Argentina por los derechos humanos
Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
Movement for Black Lives
Movement Law Lab
Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos – MNDH Brasil
New Hampshire Palestine Education Network
Palestine Teaching Trunk
Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos (Provea)
Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (RADDHO)
Rethinking Foreign Policy
Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression SCM
Texas Arab American Democrats (TAAD)
The Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church USA Theipmn.org
The Jus Semper Global Alliance
The Palestinian Human Rights Organization “PHRO”
Union of Agricultural Work Communities
United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR)
Veterans For Peace Linus Pauling Chapter 132
Working Families Party
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the
Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
I’m with the nine countries in the EU on this. The US should condemn this action as well. They have not proven anything but the fact they can stifle free speech. And that can have risky side effects making conditions less safe for everyone in Israel and Palestine. https://t.co/sB99dNZuYq
— Mark Pocan (@MarkPocan) August 20, 2022
American Friends Service Committee, August 18, 2022
Stand with Palestinian human rights defenders
Early this morning, Israeli soldiers raided the offices of Palestinian human rights and civil society groups in Ramallah — shutting them down. The targeted organizations are Defense for Children International – Palestine, Al-Haq, Addameer, Bisan, the Union of Agricultural Working Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.
AFSC stands with human rights defenders and Palestinian civil society in condemning these attacks. Contact Congress today and urge your representative to stand in solidarity with Palestinian rights organizations!
These six groups are among the most respected Palestinian human rights organizations in the world. They work closely with the United Nations, international nongovernmental organization partners, and activist communities. They also advocate to and work with European and U.S. government officials. And they provide services to Palestinians whose human rights have been violated. AFSC partners with Defense for Children International – Palestine on the No Way to Treat a Child campaign, which has led to the first congressional bill on Palestinian children’s human rights in the U.S.
Today’s events are an outrageous attempt to silence organizations that have exposed the Israeli government’s human rights abuses. They follow decades of repression of human rights activism, including detentions and raids on offices. And the U.S. must speak out now.
Thank you for speaking out and for supporting our ongoing advocacy for Palestinian rights.
Palestine Activism Program Director
Early this morning, Israeli army forces raided the offices of six leading Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations in Ramallah. Soldiers confiscated files and equipment, welded doors shut and posted military orders declaring the offices closed. These raids are a dangerous escalation in the government’s campaign against the civil society groups falsely labeled as “terrorist organizations” last year.
A quick look at the activities of the targeted groups and you’ll see that these organizations are among the top Palestinian civic institutions that document human rights violations, provide crucial social and legal services and protect the rights of women, children, farmers, prisoners and other at-risk groups in Palestinian society.
Last October, the Israeli government designated them as “terrorist organizations” without providing any concrete proof of the claims. A series of investigative reports by our team at Local Call, in partnership with +972 Magazine and The Intercept, debunked the allegations and revealed that no meaningful evidence existed to justify the designation. Just last month, nine European governments agreed, officially rejecting the allegations against the groups after a months-long investigation concluded that “no substantial information was received from Israel that would justify reviewing our policy” toward the organizations.
You can learn more and hear directly from one of the organizations affected here. We know today’s raids are just the latest brazen step by the Israeli government to crush Palestinian civil society and silence any group — Palestinian, Israeli or international — attempting to hold it to account for its human rights violations. The six organizations will not be deterred — this is a crucial time for the international community to demand accountability and insist that Palestinian civil society be allowed to do its vital work.
Education and Outreach Director in Palestine
Join the Movement of Jews, Orgs, and Politicians Pledging to #DropAIPAC
AIPAC endorsed 109 insurrectionist Republicans and spent $25 million to defeat candidates supporting Palestinian rights and progressive causes. Their actions this year aid the right-wing movement threatening our planet and democracy, and should have no place in our community or our politics.
AIPAC claims to speak on behalf of the Jewish community but embraces right-wing antisemites, Islamophobes, and white nationalists such as Donald Trump, Christian Zionist John Hagee, Rep. Jim Jordan, and Muslim Ban lawyer Frank Gaffney.
AIPAC endorsed 109 Republican candidates who supported Trump’s “Big Lie” to overturn the 2020 election. And AIPAC’s Super PAC — funded primarily by Republican billionaires — spent 25 million dollars on misleading advertisements to defeat seven progressive candidates, including targeting women of color and a former synagogue president fighting for health care, climate solutions, and responsible foreign policy.
So long as donors, U.S. politicians, and Jewish orgs like youth groups and synagogues work with AIPAC — and so long as those watching stay silent — AIPAC will have the credibility and funding to continue working against Palestinian rights and against democracy.
By pledging to #DropAIPAC, I or my organization pledges to drop:
- AIPAC’s annual policy conference
- Donating to AIPAC
- Meeting with AIPAC lobbyists
- Hosting or participating in AIPAC events
- Traveling on AIPAC trips to Israel
The majority of American Jews disagree with AIPAC’s anti-Palestinian racism and recognize that Jewish and Palestinian safety is intertwined. We stand committed to fighting for equality, justice, and a thriving future for all Jews, Israelis, and Palestinians.
The Montgomery County Council was initially scheduled to consider a harmful and overly expansive definition of anti-Semitism on July 26.
Hundreds of community members made their voices heard.
“This is a great decision by the Montgomery County Council, and a victory for free speech.”
Washington, D.C. | www.adc.org | July 24, 2022 – Over the past few days the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has been in dialogue with members and officials from the Montgomery County Council pertaining to a proposed agenda item at the next Council meeting which would redefine anti-Semitism. Montgomery County is the most most populous county in Maryland, located just outside of Washington, D.C. ADC has been informed that the Council decided to remove the item from the agenda. We welcome this decision by the Council and are committed to continued dialogue with Montgomery County officials as we work to tackle all forms of hate and bigotry.
The proposed resolution, which was set to be discussed at the next Council meeting on Tuesday July 26 would have the County adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) re-definition of anti-Semitism. The proposed definition institutionalizes a re-definition that conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, making it difficult to fight against real hate and bigotry.
ADC Legislative and Policy Coordinator Chris Habiby states, “This is a great decision by the Montgomery County Council, and a victory for free speech. Throughout the weekend the Council heard from hundreds of our community members in the County, and this decision was done in the best interest of the county and all its residents.”
By expanding the definition of anti-Semitism to encompass political speech, the resolution chills constitutionally protected speech. Already, the IHRA definition has been used to target several civil society and university organizations including Amnesty International, Black Lives Matter, the American Friends Services Committee, Doctors without Borders, and Harvard’s Crimson newspaper. It has also been used towards human rights activists including Cornel West, CNN Commentator Marc Lamont Hill and the late Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
If similar action is being considered by your local city or county council, please contact ADC for assistance in addressing the issue – send an email to email@example.com for support.
A mural that was conceived and painted by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) and Art Forces. The mural was censored by the SFPL and the ACLU claims there are First Amendment concerns with the censorship. Courtesy Megan Wilson/Clarion Alley Mural Project
A new letter from the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California raises First Amendment concerns after the San Francisco Public Library decided to omit a line it called antisemitic from a Palestine-focused mural in an exhibit that was supposed to appear this summer.
The exhibition, which was canceled in March as a result of the controversy, was focused on racism and xenophobia against marginalized groups, including Palestinians. The mural in question featured a sign with the phrase “Zionism is racism.”
The library raised concerns about the phrase and discussed removing it with the curators, according to an SFPL statement sent to The Standard. The group declined to make changes to the exhibition, said Christopher Statton, co-director of Clarion Alley Mural Project, the Mission District-based group that organized the mural exhibition.
“It may create discussions that are difficult and messy, but it’s harmful not to have these discussions,” Statton said.
In her letter, ACLU Staff Attorney Hannah Kieschnick agrees, arguing that the library, as a public space that often promotes and displays speech that doesn’t represent its views, cannot discriminate that speech by its viewpoint or concerns it is controversial.
“Instead of cancelling what the library perceives to be a controversial exhibition, I urge you to use the exhibition as an opportunity, consistent with the library’s role as a center for information and learning, to welcome diverse perspectives and foster open dialogue about the viewpoint expressed in the Arab Liberation Mural,” Kieschnick wrote in the letter.
The SFPL declined to comment on the ACLU letter specifically, but its statement to The Standard reaffirms its decision to ask the artists to edit their work before its presentation in service to their mission to “provide a safe and welcoming space for our entire community.
“Presenting expressions, such as ‘Zionism is Racism,’ which are widely viewed as antisemitic are counter to that mission and would set a precedent that would justify the exhibition of other viewpoints harming minority communities and identities based on race, gender, national origin, sexuality, or religion,” the library’s statement reads. “The Library presents a panoply of viewpoints on a wide range of topics, but we draw the line at a public display of speech that negatively targets any specific race, ethnic or religious community.”
According to Statton, several alternative venues that he declined to name have reached out to the group offering to display the exhibition in its entirety.
“The library’s decision to censor our mural without connecting with the community—it was disrespectful,” said Sharif Zakout, an organizer at the Arab Resource and Organizing Center. “Our community was left out of it completely.”