Born Unequal Abroad

Understand how two people are treated differently by the Israeli government based solely on their identity. This is one visual in a four-part series Visualizing Palestine created in partnership with Human Rights Watch to communicate the report “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.”

Visualizing Palestine

Source: Human Rights Watch (2021). A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.

May 16-20, 2021
Virtual Delegation to Lifta: Commemorate the Nakba

With your guide Umar al-Ghubari

Eyewitness Palestine

To commemorate Nakba Day this year, we will be traveling virtually to Lifta to discuss the wider historical context of the Nakba. The story of Lifta is one example of about 600 Palestinian localities that were captured, and their indigenous residents expelled, during the Nakba (the Catastrophe) in 1948. Lifta was one of the biggest villages in al-Quds (Jerusalem) district until its occupation in 1948. All of its 3000 residents were forcibly displaced and, even until today, their ability to return to their houses and lands to live has been prevented by Israel. In this Virtual Delegation we will learn about the the life in Lifta before 1948, its occupation during 1948 and Israel’s restrictive policies afterward. We will start by the Palestinian school, which was “converted” to a Jewish orthodox one, and then walk among the ruins in the center of the village around the famous water spring of Lifta.

Umar al-Ghubari is a Palestinian group facilitator, a political educator and lecturer on Palestinian history, identity, the Nakba and return. He coordinates and guides “Nakba & Return Tours” at various destroyed Palestinian localities inside Israel and produce booklets on their history and current situation.

Umar works with Zochrot, an NGO based in Tel Aviv that formed in 2002 to promote acknowledgement and accountability for the ongoing injustices of the Nakba and the reconceptualization of the Return as the imperative redress of the Nakba.

May 11, 2021
Virtual Delegation to Mesarvot: Israeli Military Refusers

With your guide Yuval Gal Cohen and our co-sponsors: Refuser Solidarity Network and OBJECTOR Impact Project

Eyewitness Palestine

Mesarvot is a network of Israeli activists that supports conscientious objectors in their refusal to become soldiers and take part in the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. Our goal is to promote a platform for political discussions about Israeli society in general and the military occupation in particular, while providing young refusers with legal, media and personal support. Join us to hear about our activities and our struggle for a just society for everyone between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

On our tour you will get to know some of the strong young leaders in the movement and hear them tell their story. You will hang out with the Shministim, a group of high school students who declare out loud their intention to refuse military service. The tour will also accompany refusers on their enlistment day and join a support protest by the network – standing strong against backlash from Israeli public – and much more!

Yuval Gal Cohen is 25 and refused to join the Israeli military in 2014 but didn’t serve time in Military prison. She has been a part of Mesarvot more or less since the beginning. Yuval is a human rights and climate justice activist in different movements, a singer and an artist.

National Lawyers Guild Urges Biden to Align US Israel-Palestine Policy With International Law

“The United States cannot turn its back on the atrocities, including war crimes, enabled by U.S. policies, particularly its decades long policy of shielding Israel from accountability.”

“It has long been obvious to anyone paying attention that U.S. policy on Palestine and Israel does not match its rhetoric nor the ideals that it claims to stand for—freedom, human rights, and democracy.”

Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams, May 03, 2021

An Israeli soldier points a rifle at a Palestinian man protesting then-President Donald Trump's so-called Middle East peace plan in the illegally occupied West Bank city of Hebron on February 28, 2020. (Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images)

Less than a week after Human Rights Watch published a scathing report accusing the Israeli government of the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution for its treatment of Palestinians, a leading U.S. legal advocacy group on Monday submitted a memorandum to the Biden administration outlining the legal basis for reversing Trump-era pro-Israel policies that violate human rights and international law. 

The memo (pdf), authored by the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) International Committee’s Palestine Subcommittee, notes that after four years of “bullish and detrimental” U.S. policy on Palestine and Israel under the Trump administration, “the health, human rights, and humanitarian situation for Palestinians—both in Palestine and in the refugee camps of surrounding countries—is dire.”

“From withdrawing vital funding from humanitarian organizations that provide basic needs to Palestinian refugees and moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, to targeting human rights advocates in the United States, the Trump administration enacted a number of policies that have harmed both Palestinians and U.S. citizens, and continue to do so today,” the memo states.

“Further, in enacting the aforementioned policies, the Trump administration ignored many of the international commitments that the United States is charged to abide by, including core principles of international law,” it continues. “The Biden administration must not only correct course; it needs to go beyond Obama-era policies to affirm and demonstrate its commitment to civil and human rights and international law, both at home and abroad.”

The memo’s authors urge the Biden administration to take steps including, but not limited to: 

  • Relocate the U.S. Embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv;
  • Reverse the Trump administration’s repudiation of a 1978 State Department legal opinion declaring Israel’s settler colonies in the occupied West Bank to be illegal; 
  • Rescind the previous administration’s rule requiring “Made in Israel” labeling on goods produces in the unlawful settlements, as well as former President Donald Trump’s formal recognition of Israel’s illegal annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights; 
  • Reinstate aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency;
  • Call for an immediate end to Israel’s 15-year closure and blockade of Gaza; 
  • Refrain from further interference in International Criminal Court proceedings and consider ratifying the Rome Statute; 
  • Reverse Trump’s order falsely conflating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism; and 
  • Affirm that boycotts for human rights such as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement “are a form of highly protected speech under the U.S. Constitution.”

“The policy recommendations made herein represent the minimum required to reverse the damage done by the Trump administration and begin to bring United States policy and practice on Palestine and Israel in line with international law,” the memo states. “The United States cannot turn its back on the atrocities, including war crimes, enabled by U.S. policies, particularly its decadeslong policy of shielding Israel from accountability.”

“Thus, the United States has a legal and moral responsibility to act expeditiously,” the memo adds. “It has long been obvious to anyone paying attention that U.S. policy on Palestine and Israel does not match its rhetoric nor the ideals that it claims to stand for—freedom, human rights, and democracy. The Biden administration has an opportunity and an obligation to correct course and to pursue policies grounded in integrity, human rights, equality, and respect for the rule of law.”

Memo co-author Huwaida Arraf, a human rights attorney and co-chair of the NLG International Palestine Subcommittee, said in a statement that “rescinding Trump’s recognition of Israel’s annexations should have been done on day one of the Biden administration, and although [President Joe] Biden has stated that he would not relocate the U.S. Embassy from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv, this position cannot be reconciled with a stated intent to ‘respect the rule of law.'” 

Continue reading

Human Rights Watch Documents Israeli Apartheid

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), April 27, 2021

For the past week, the world watched as Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians living in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Over 1500 Palestinians, mostly children, are facing threats of forced displacement and home demolitions by Israeli authorities. For nearly 75 years, this has been the devastating reality for many Palestinians – exile, intimidation, occupation, and apartheid. The human rights abuses that Palestinians have faced at the hands of Israel are finally attracting more attention. While. the United Nations has repeatedly pointed out violations of international law by Israel, While the United Nations has repeatedly pointed out violations of international law by Israel, the international consensus has always been to ignore the violations– but the world can no longer ignore what is happening.

Yesterday, in a historic move, Human Rights Watch came out with a 213-page report that documents the human rights abuses Israel inflicts on Palestinians and recognizes their actions as crimes of apartheid. While Palestinians and many others who support them have known this for years, this is a bold move that pushes the plight of the Palestinian people into the spotlight with the hope that Israel will be held accountable for these crimes.

The report states: “Israeli authorities methodically privilege Jewish Israelis and discriminate against Palestinians. Laws, policies, and statements by leading Israeli officials make plain that the objective of maintaining Jewish Israeli control over demographics, political power, and land has long guided government policy. In pursuit of this goal, authorities have dispossessed, confined, forcibly separated, and subjugated Palestinians by virtue of their identity to varying degrees of intensity. In certain areas, as described in this report, these deprivations are so severe that they amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

Palestinians have suffered under occupation and crimes of apartheid for over half a century. Recognizing the human rights abuses inflicted by Israel such as checkpoints; annexation; lack of medical care, access to clean water; and the deliberate, imposing apartheid wall, is essential in the pursuit for justice.

In recent months, mounting pressure from the American people and international community has pushed US lawmakers into action. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) recently introduced H.R.2590, the Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act. This historic bill would hold Israel accountable for its human rights abuses of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation and withhold sending our tax dollars to fund these atrocities. Over a dozen members of Congress co-sponsored this resolution, and ADC- along with dozens of Palestinian and human rights organizations – is proud to have signed on as an endorsing organization.

ADC stands with the Palestinian people and condemns the recent violence against the residents of Sheikh Jarrah. We call on all who believe in human rights and dignity to join us in vocalizing support and sharing the report by Human Rights Watch. The Palestinian people have had their voices silenced for far too long. With your help we will continue to uplift their struggle under occupation and fight for their freedom.

BDS VIctory: Pomona College Students Divest from Occupation in Palestine

RE: BDS Victory: ASPC To Divest Funds From Occupation of Palestine
Contact: Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine

We are pleased to announce that the Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday, April 22, 2021 divesting all ASPC funds from companies complicit in the occupation of Palestine, and banning future use of funds towards such companies[1]. This is an important victory at Pomona College and sets a strong precedent for future solidarity work at Pomona and the other Claremont Colleges in support of the Palestinian liberation movement, and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement in particular. SJP is deeply grateful to ASPC for their support, and additionally thanks the 23 Claremont Colleges student organizations that joined our coalition in support of ASPC divestment from the occupation of Palestine.

Claremont SJP, alongside Claremont Jewish Voice for Peace, introduced this resolution to stand in material and ideological solidarity with Palestinians struggling for their freedom from Israeli apartheid, occupation, and oppression. This action heeds the 2005 BDS call by Palestinian civil society organizations to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel, “until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.” This resolution enacts the divestment of funds under ASPC’s control from the UN Human Rights Council’s list of 112 companies “involved in certain specified activities related to the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” (A/HRC/43/71). The resolution also “calls upon the other Claremont Colleges Student Government Associations to follow suit, with an ultimate adoption of a consortium-wide agreement to not allow clubs to use their student government allocations to knowingly invest or spend their funds of items that contribute to further encroachment into Palestinian occupied territories by the UN-designated companies or the Israeli state, or face the loss of ASPC funding.” Claremont SJP reiterates this call to action to the other Claremont College Student Government Associations to pass a similar resolution.

This resolution is by no means the end of the Pomona College and Claremont Consortium community’s responsibility to push for total divestment from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Adopting this amendment is an important first step in reducing our complicity with a country that maintains an illegal military occupation and regularly commits crimes against humanity against the indigenous Palestinian population. As students at Pomona College and the Claremont Colleges, we recognize that our tuition dollars are being used to support companies which directly profit from the ongoing dispossession and oppression of Palestinians.

Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine is committed to standing up against our colleges’ complicity in supporting companies and organizations that serve to benefit from continued violence on behalf of the state of Israel. We will continue working to build a movement in solidarity with the liberation of Palestinians and all oppressed people in the US and around the world. The final copy of the newly adopted ASPC bill can be found here.

In solidarity,

Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine

Help Boost the New Palestine Bill!

This week, Rep. Betty McCollum introduced H.R. 2590, the Palestinian Children and Families Act, a landmark bill that seeks to prohibit our tax dollars being used by Israel to cage Palestinian children, destroy Palestinian homes, and steal Palestinian land.

A broad range of more than seventy organizations (see below) have endorsed this bill aiming to create a political transformation towards Palestinian rights in U.S. policy.

Here in Wisconsin, Rep. Mark Pocan is an original co-sponsor of the bill.

If you would like to thank Rep. Pocan, you can send a message here.

April 17 & 24, 2021
“End US Support for Israeli Apartheid?” Parts 1 & 2

IsraelApartheidConApril 17 and 24 at 11AM EDT • Register today!

A major Israeli human rights organization has declared apartheid is rampant both inside Israel and in the territories Israel occupies.

While Congress wrangled over modest emergency pandemic relief for Americans, the nation of Israel receives $3.8 billion annually—and even more covert aid—with barely a whisper of debate. Any member of Congress who might question the annual U.S. subsidy for Israeli militarization knows that he or she will incur the wrath of AIPAC and other Israel lobby groups. The lobby patrols the Congress to ensure that Israel, a small country of some nine million people, remains by far the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. U.S. aid enables Israeli apartheid, new settlements in illegally occupied territories and ongoing violent repression of Palestinians. Meanwhile, American citizens who question illegal Israeli policies and engage in nonviolent protest movements such as BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) are accused of being anti-Semites, and their free speech rights threatened.

This web-based conference considers whether the United States should cut off aid to Israel or make any such assistance conditional on negotiation of a genuine peace settlement, respect for Palestinian human rights, and adherence to international law. Wrapping around the annual meeting of the Israel lobby group J Street, the webinar will address U.S. financial support of Israel, the strengths and weaknesses of “liberal” lobby groups like J Street, prospects for a one- or two-state solution, and the progress of free speech organizations, the BDS movement and other forms of resistance, including solidarity between Palestinian activism and the Black Lives Matter movement.