September 22-28, 2021
Virtual Delegations to the South Hebron Hills

Visit with Youth of Sumud and your guides Bana & Sami
September 2021

Join us for a virtual tour of the South Hebron Hills. During this tour we will visit villages in the southern part of the West Bank where Palestinians remain steadfast and continue to resist the constant threats and attacks from nearby Israeli settlements and outposts. Saurora was abandoned in the 1990’s because of settler violence from the nearby illegal Israeli outpost of Havat Ma’On and the ancient cave homes were damaged or demolished. In 2017, members of Youth of Sumud have begun to revive the village of Saurora – rebuilding the caves and establishing a permanent presence there. Youth of Sumud have also taken on the responsibility of accompannying children who have to travel past neaby settlements and outposts to go to school and farmers who face violence from settlers and Israeli soldiers in their fields.

We will visit with Youth of Sumud and also hear about a new campaign, Defund Racism, a Palestinian-led movement to end the use of ‘charitable’ funds raised in the United States to carry out the mission of Israeli settler organizations.

Your Guides, Bana & Sami!

Bana Abu Zuluf is a researcher and community activist with the Good Shepherd Collective, where she has played a crucial role in developing the Campaign to Defund Racism, helping organize over 200 Palestinian organizations, villages and individuals from across historical Palestine to make the call to stop the flow of charitable money to Israeli settler organizations.

Sami Huraini is a political activist and community organizer in Palestine. Huraini co-founded Youth of Sumud, a nonviolent resistance movement that provides material support for marginalized communities facing settler violence across the West Bank. Youth of Sumud spearheaded the efforts to return a Palestinian presence to the displaced community of Sarura after it been abandoned for over 20 years.

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New Prime Minister, Same Human Rights Violations

Dear Friend,

I am heavy, but hopeful. The last two weeks have been heartbreaking and enraging in so many ways: we see U.S. government fingerprints, our tax dollars at work, on carnage around the world, from Afghanistan to Palestine. Our government has left the Afghan people to a chaotic power vacuum in the aftermath of 20 years of U.S. invasion, and denied refuge to so many. And the U.S. welcomed the new Prime Minister of Apartheid Israel, Naftali Bennett, to the White House just days after Israeli forces shot Palestinian protesters in Gaza, injuring a 13-year-old child.

But as a communication professional in advocacy, I know the power of shifting the narrative to transform what’s possible for future policy. This week we’ve seen people-powered actions disrupting the narratives of the powerful. On Afghanistan, that looks like an outpouring of people’s support for Afghan refugees—follow Afghans for a Better Tomorrow on Instagram and Twitter for one view into the outpouring of community support for providing refuge to Afghans made vulnerable by our disastrous foreign policy. And on Palestine, we’ve been part of a powerful conclusion to August’s month of action this week, with people like you speaking up in the media, in joint letters, and in the streets to condemn this red carpet rollout for war criminal Bennett and push toward an end to U.S. support for Israel’s colonialism once and for all.

Join us by raising your voice: Today the mainstream media is reporting on Israeli PM Bennett and President Biden’s meeting on “peace” and “security,” while an end to billions of dollars of U.S. weapons to bomb, cage, and displace Palestinians remains off the agenda.



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Joint Statement On Biden-Bennett Meeting

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), August 26, 2021

Ahead of President Joe Biden’s first in-person meeting today with newly-elected Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, ADC, along with the undersigned organizations, insists President Biden center core Palestinian calls for justice and demand that the Israeli government ends its ongoing and systemic violations of Palestinian rights, including ending the blockade of Gaza and immediately halting ongoing ethnic cleansing and forced expulsions of hundreds of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, Jerusalem.

Palestinians have suffered under, and resisted, Israeli ethnic cleansing, military occupation, and crimes of apartheid since the creation of the state of Israel. The U.S. has enabled those policies by sending billions of dollars in unconditional military funding and by regularly shielding Israel from accountability in the international arena. If President Biden truly wants to center justice and human rights in U.S. foreign policy, he must finally condemn and take action to end U.S. diplomatic support and military funding for the Israeli government’s ongoing and systemic violations of Palestinian human rights. These include restrictions on freedom of movement; extrajudicial killings; demolitions of homes; ill-treatment and torture of children in military court systems; illegal annexation of land; theft of water and other natural resources; the suffocating blockade of Gaza and deadly and repeated military assaults on Palestinians there; the denial of the right of refugees to return to their homes; and more.

It is painfully clear that without pressure and demands for accountability from the U.S.—including cutting military funding to the Israeli government and sanctions—the Israeli government will continue to violate Palestinian rights. Our tax dollars should be invested in life affirming policies like housing and healthcare, not harm to communities around the globe.

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) Legislative and Policy Coordinator Chris Habiby said,“President Biden has an opportunity with this meeting to shift his administration’s complicity in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people by instead advocating in support of the human rights of Palestinians. He must rise to meet this moment and demonstrate that the US will not stand idly by while Israel routinely kills Palestinians, while they routinely throw Palestinians out of their homes, and while they routinely deny Palestinians access to clean water and medical care – an issue that is of particular importance during a global pandemic.”

Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC) Executive Director Lara Kiswani said, “Biden owes his presidency to the millions of people who rose up to resist racist authoritarianism. He now has an obligation to stand with mass movements demanding change by taking decisive action for the sovereignty of Palestinian people to raise his voice against apartheid, supporting a moratorium on military funding to Israel, demanding an end to the siege on Gaza, and calling for an immediate end to ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem.”

US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) Executive Director Ahmad Abuznaid said, “President Biden is complicit in fueling Israeli violence against the Palestinian people – including the Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza this spring, after which his administration pushed to approve additional weapons sales to Israel. Every Israeli government has advanced Israel’s colonialism and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. The Biden administration has the chance to end our complicity in ongoing Israeli violence once and for all.”

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When anti-Black and anti-Palestinian racism converge


In his resignation letter Dr Cornel West warns of ‘an intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy’ in US academia [Getty]

Sahar F. Aziz, The New Arab, 23 Jul, 2021

It is no secret that Palestine is taboo in US academia. Harvard’s recent denial of tenure to renowned race scholar Cornel West is the most recent instance. 

For decades, Arab American faculty have faced tenure denial or termination; students have been reprimanded and some even criminally charged; and Middle East studies programmes are under constant threat of defunding.  All based on the fallacious claim that teaching, research, and activism that brings to light Israel’s rampant violations of Palestinian human rights is axiomatically anti-Semitic

Big donors, alumni, and well-funded legal advocacy groups unabashedly command university administrators to cancel classes and programmes aimed to provide students with the experiences and voices of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. Never mind that cowering to such demands undermines a university’s most fundamental tenet: academic freedom. 

“Cowering to such demands undermines a university’s most fundamental tenet: academic freedom”

As they become ever more dependent on private donations and external grants to cover operational expenses, university administrators often oblige

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No More Weapons for Israel

Defense for Children Palestine, July 21, 2021

In May 2021, Israeli forces launched an 11-day military offensive against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip dubbed Operation Guardian of the Walls. The Israeli military used U.S.-manufactured weapons in a massive assault that resulted in the deaths of at least 256 Palestinians, including 67 children. More than 91,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced at the height of the bombardment, all while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dangerously spread in the Gaza Strip. 

In the midst of Operation Guardian of the Walls, the Biden administration approved a $735 million weapons sale to Israel, which included the same kinds of weapons used against Palestinians in Gaza. The State Department approved the sale before Congress could debate and vote on it, despite joint resolutions of disapproval being introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. 

Additionally, Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz is reportedly asking the United States for $1 billion in emergency military assistance to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome aerial missile system. 

The United States already sends Israel $3.8 billion in unconditional military assistance annually, and approving even more military assistance and weapons sales in light of the recent assault on Gaza is unconscionable. 

International humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and requires all parties to an armed conflict to distinguish between military targets, civilians, and civilian objects. While Israel relies on the principle of self-defense to justify military offensives on Gaza, Israeli forces are bound to customary international law rules of proportionality and necessity. As the occupying power in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the Gaza Strip, Israel is required to protect the Palestinian civilian population from violence.

For more information, read Defense for Children International – Palestine’s reporting on the Gaza Strip.

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Gaza Is Still Under Attack — but You Wouldn’t Know It From the Media

A young medical student speaks out about life in the besieged Strip, the persistence of Israeli attacks, and the need for real solidarity.


Flames are seen after an Israeli air strike strikes in Gaza City, Gaza, on June 15, 2021. (Photo by Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Amal Haddad, The Nation, JULY 6, 2021

In mid-May, as the Israeli military pummeled the Gaza Strip with shattering force, a medical student in the southern city of Rafah sent a plea to a friend, who shared it with another friend, who shared it with The Nation. The students name was Noor Alshaer, and she was desperate to to speak up—“for our voices to be heard, for our story to be out,” as she wrote.

“I have lived through three heinous wars only to live up to the fourth that already feels worse than all the previous three piled up together,” she continued. “Safety is not option in the strip, and it hurts me so much reading the news on the Western media, seeing how the stories are all one-sided.”

In June, I finally had the chance to speak with Alshaer from her home in Gaza. Though she has lived in the coastal Strip since birth, her family is originally from Bir al-Saba, an ethnically cleansed Palestinian town conquered by Israel in 1948 through aerial bombardment. (Over 70 percent of Palestinians living in Gaza are refugees from other parts of Palestine.)

For two brief years, Alshaer studied neuroscience at Washington and Lee University in Virginia but she had to return home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Israel did not allow Alshaer to leave the Strip to return to school—Palestinians must apply for a permit to leave Gaza, and are rejected more often than not—so she enrolled in medical school in Gaza.

It was as a medical student as well as a civilian that Alshaer experienced the 11 days of Israel’s latest bombing siege. During that time, Israeli precision-guided airstrikes killed 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, while over 72,000 Gazans were made homeless; 13 Israelis, including two children were killed. While Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire, the violence faced by Palestinians has not ceased—in the West Bank, Jerusalem, Israel, or of course in Gaza. There, in the besieged Strip, people are not only struggling with the aftermath of the onslaught, but also with ongoing bombing. Continue reading

Boycotting the Boycotters

In Oil-Friendly States, New Bills Aim to Block Divestment from Fossil Fuels

The proposed law in North Dakota is based on a 2017 bill that banned Texas from investing in funds that boycott, divest from or sanction Israel.

Wisconsin Act 248 (2018) prohibits contractors with public entities from participating in a boycott of Israel. See Palestine Legal — Wisconsin


Oil pumpjacks near Dickinson, North Dakota. (WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

ERIKA BOLSTAD, IN THESE TIMES, MARCH 19, 2021

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published by Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Climate and shareholder activists are leading a growing movement for investors to put their money only in companies with sustainable business practices, a standard that considers how a company is run, the working conditions in its supply chain and its effect on climate change.

But lawmakers in some energy-producing states are not only pushing back — they’re proposing the exact opposite.

In Alaska, North Dakota, Texas and other energy-producing states where fossil fuel taxes support state budgets, some lawmakers are introducing legislation that would force states to stop investing in companies that use sustainable strategies to make financial decisions and to cut ties with asset managers, banks and insurers that are doing the same. 

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SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN RETRACTED PRO-PALESTINE ARTICLE WITHOUT ANY FACTUAL ERRORS


A Palestinian child, wounded by Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, receives treatment at Al-Shifa Hospital on May 19, 2021 in Gaza City, Gaza. Fatima Shbair/Getty Images

Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept, July 1 2021

After right-wing outrage, the esteemed journal removed an opinion piece expressing solidarity with Palestinians under Israeli bombardment.

Sabreen Akhter felt an urge to help in whatever way she could. Like many people around the world this May, Akhter was following news of war in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli bombardment was exacerbating a humanitarian crisis in the territory. Scanning her social media feed, Akhter, a doctor from Chicago, made contact with a few other health care professionals across the United States who had also been posting news online about the crisis.

Akhter set up a call to discuss what they could do, on behalf of their profession, for Palestinians. They settled on the idea of writing an article together as a group of medical workers concerned about the medical situation in Gaza and pitching it to Scientific American, where Akhter had published in the opinion section in the past.

“We didn’t know each other previously but had all been watching all of this violence and devastation happening in Palestine and were feeling helpless about it,” said Akhter. “I remembered that there had been an article published in The Lancet in 2014 about health care workers speaking up for Palestine. I thought it was really powerful at the time and remembered that a lot of people in the health care field had responded to it when it was published.”

On June 2, following an extensive editing and fact-checking process with the publication, the article ran in Scientific American under the headline “As Health Care Workers, We Stand in Solidarity with Palestine.”

Less than two weeks later, on June 11, the article was removed from Scientific American’s website without warning. A short editor’s note appeared in its place. “This article fell outside the scope of Scientific American and has been removed,” the note said. That same day, an editor from the publication emailed Akhter and the others, informing them of the retraction and apologizing for any “confusion” caused by the initial decision to publish the article.

“We were shocked, completely shocked. We all got on a call together and talked about it,” Akhter said. “We sent an email back to the editor later stating that we were disappointed and asking to clarify what they meant that the article had fallen ‘outside the scope,’ but we never got a response.”

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