USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Archive for October, 2015


Posted by uscsjp on October 28, 2015

We, champions of the First Amendment, urge you to preserve the University of California’s 1960s legacy as a bastion of free speech and robust political debate.

In this spirit, we ask you refrain from adopting a policy statement[1] to censor political speech by threatening to expel or suspend students critical of Israel.

We understand that after student senators at 7 of the 9 University of California campuses passed resolutions calling for the University to divest from corporations profiting off of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, some students campaigned for harsh restrictions on political speech. They demanded you, the Regents, pass a resolution adopting a State Department document defining anti-Semitism as denying Israel’s right to exist – and to expel or suspend students who dared to challenge the establishment of a Jewish homeland on Palestinian territory.

In a draft Statement of Principles[2], you refused to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism but still called for broad restrictions on intolerance. The LA Times[3] editorial board said your statement failed the free-speech test.

Even so, student lobbyists and Israeli lobby organizations pressured you to form a new committee to revisit the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism in order to further restrict political speech.

While we, the petitioners, denounce racism and bigotry against Jews, Muslims, and any and all ethnicities, religions, and gender identities, we also recognize that California already has laws[4] on the books against hate crimes and hate speech that carries an implicit threat. We do not need a duplicative policy statement or an unconstitutional Statement of Principles designed to silence voices that question the status quo.

We, instead, want the great University of California to not only embrace ethnic diversity, but also intellectual diversity, for dissent is the lifeblood of democracy.

Protect political speech. Do not censor it.

Why is this important?

If the University of California can censor political debate on Israel, what is to stop it from restricting all political debate? A threat to free speech at the University of California is a threat to free speech everywhere.

[1] UC goes back to the drawing board on controversial revamp of free-speech policy, LA Times, 9/17/2015
[2] The Regents Of The University Of California’s Statement Of Principles Against Intolerance, University of California Regents, 9/17/2015
[3] Editorial: UC’s new ‘Principles Against Intolerance’ fail free-speech test, LA Times, 9/16/2015
[4] California’s Civil and Criminal Laws Pertaining to Hate Crimes, State of California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General

How it will be delivered

Via email; also in person at a meeting of the Regents of the University of California


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Posted by uscsjp on October 19, 2015


The Markaz with support from Jewish Voice for Peace-LA  and LA Jews for Peace presents a MENA-X (Middle East/North Africa Exchange) program featuring independent Canadian-Israeli journalist and filmmaker David Sheen. Returning to the center on his latest tour (coordinated by the Northern California chapter of the International Solidarity Movement), Sheen talk is “The Bullet, the Ballot and the Boycott,” an in-depth look at Israeli incitement to racist violence, the focus of his on-the-ground reporting for the past five years.

Sheen will describe how top Israeli political and religious leaders use dehumanizing discourse to inspire vigilante attacks toward Palestinians, Africans and other non-Jews, especially during the 2014 assault on the Gaza Strip. His talk will include material that Sheen presented at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in Brussels, as well as new information never before been made public in English. Watch an excerpt, Inside Israel’s Race Wars, Thieves in the Temple(4 minutes) leading into additional material. Read related op-ed in Mondoweiss.

As citizens, taxpayers and voters, it’s crucial that we have the means to bypass the mainstream media and listen to alternative voices reporting real news, beyond sensationalist headlines, to inform us of what is happening on the ground. To that end the Markaz hosts two ongoing series, MENA-X and Progressive Conversations on Israel/Palestine and U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East, cosponsored by LA Jews for Peace and other participating associations. If you would like to suggest a speaker or a topic, contact Rime Yasin, This presentation made possible with contributions by Anonymous, Nader Barakat et alia.

Suggested donation $10, seating limited, advance RSVPs strongly advised. Reserve below or call 323.413.2001.

  • October 29, 2015 at 7pm – 9pm
  • The Markaz
  • $10.00 USD

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Venezuelan Social Movements Protest Israeli “Genocide” Outside UN HQ in Caracas

Posted by uscsjp on October 19, 2015

Caracas, October 16, 2015 ( – Venezuelan social movements gathered outside the United Nations’ headquarters in Caracas on Wednesday to protest an ongoing Israeli crackdown against Palestinians in the occupied territories, which has claimed the lives of at least 35 Palestinians since October 1.

Unfurling a giant Palestinian flag at the entrance to the office building, the several dozen protesters held signs and chanted slogans calling on the international community to take action in defense of Palestinian rights.

“We are here at the United Nations office in Caracas simply because we cannot remain silent in the face of the genocide being committed against the Palestinian people,” Hindu Andari, spokesperson for the Itinerant Forum of Popular Participation, told venezuelanalysis.

The most recent Israeli crackdown has sought to quell a Palestinian uprising gaining momentum in the past two weeks, sparked by Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

On Tuesday, 27-year-old Mutaz Ibrahim Zawahreh was shot and killed with live ammunition by Israeli occupation forces during clashes near the illegal Israeli separation barrier in Bethlehem, while 33 others were injured, nine with live fire.

Thirty-five Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of October, including at least seven children, as well as numerous bystanders and unarmed protesters shot dead in “extrajudicial killings”, according to Amnesty International. 1300 Palestinians have also been injured this month, including 550 by live fire and 600 by rubber-coated bullets, the Palestinian Ministry of Health confirms. Meanwhile, seven Israelis have been killed, mostly in stabbing attacks.

Coming on the heels of Venezuela’s commemoration of “indigenous resistance day” on October 12, several present at Wednesday’s protest drew parallels between Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonization and indigenous struggles in South America.

“The Venezuelan people survived a similar genocide when Columbus came to America. The Palestinian people are resisting as we resisted, as our indigenous peoples resisted in the face of that [Spanish] genocide. Venezuela cannot be indifferent to this cause,” explains Mercedes “Chelena” Rosa of the Movement of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Artists.

Last year, Venezuela shipped tonnes of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip in response to a 51-day Israeli assault that killed close to 2200 Palestinians, two-thirds of whom civilians, provoking international outrage and renewed calls for international sanctions.

Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions

The recurrent US-backed Israeli assaults on the Gaza Strip in recent years have fueled the rise of the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to replicate the nonviolent tactics successfully used against apartheid South Africa to force Israel’s compliance with international law.

The international movement has been so successful that Venezuelan social movements are in the process of organizing their own BDS campaign, says Andari.

“We must break relations with companies that finance the occupation of Palestine,” she stated, noting that the Caracas UN office is located in the HPTower, also home to the offices of US multinational IT firm Hewlett-Packard, which produces biometric ID technology used both in Israeli checkpoints and US prisons.

“We have to turn up the pressure so that no university in the country can have educational and athletic agreements with Israeli [universities]. We believe that the Bolivarian government shouldn’t send Venezuelan athletes to any international competitions in Israel,” Andari added, underscoring the importance of theacademic and cultural boycott….

–Lucas Koerner,, 16 October, 2015


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ANSWER: ‘Day of Rage’ for Palestine

Posted by uscsjp on October 14, 2015


Friday, Oct. 16, 3-6 PM
Israeli Consulate, 11766 Wilshire Blvd.

Join the ANSWER Coalition and the southern California Palestinian community in Los Angeles for a solidarity protest with the people of Palestine. For the past three weeks, an escalation of Israeli military and settler violence against Palestinians has resulted in the death of more than 30 and injury to over 1300.

This violence comes on the heels of raids on Al-Aqsa mosque by settlers and increasing restrictions placed on access to the site. The high profile murder of several Palestinian children and women has been documented by depraved settlers themselves, rejoicing in their pogrom. In the most recent incident, a teenage boy named Ahmad is being videotaped by a Zionist settler who is swearing at him and taunting him as he dies.

The Israeli government has intensified its attacks on protesters by giving free reign to Israeli occupation soldiers to shoot live ammunition at Palestinians resulting in over 100 Palestinian protesters being shot. Israeli state officials have further encouraged the increase in roaming bands of armed settlers who have instigated the majority of violence in Palestinian neighborhoods.

The terrorist tactics employed by Israeli government and settlers against Palestinians and increase in settlement construction in violation of international law is evidence of the true nature of the apartheid regime. The entrenched racist and colonialist government can only be defeated by a mass movement of Palestinians and their allies throughout the world demanding an end to to the genocide of Palestinians and a complete dismantling of the apartheid system.

Endorsed By: Al-Awda, Palestinian Right of Return Coalition, Palestinian American Women’s Association, American Muslims for Palestine, Palestinian Youth Movement, Jews for the Palestinian Right of Return, Palestinian American Congress, Jewish Voices for Peace, Committee of Democratic Palestine, and more!

For more information, call 323-285-6545 or email

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Democracy Now! Headlines: Israeli Troops Attack Palestinians After Funeral for Teen Shot by IDF etc.

Posted by uscsjp on October 7, 2015

Israeli Troops Attack Palestinians After Funeral for Teen Shot by IDF

 Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition, stun grenades and tear gas at Palestinians in Bethlehem Tuesday following the funeral for a 13-year-old Palestinian boy shot dead by Israeli soldiers a day before.

NYC: Dozens Protest Recent IDF Killings of Palestinian Teens

 Meanwhile, in New York, dozens of people rallied outside the Israeli Consulate to protest the recent killings of Palestinian teenagers by Israeli forces.

Lamis Deek: “My name is Lamis Deek. I am an attorney and an activist with Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition. And I’m one of the organizers of today’s rally. We’re here today to stand in solidarity with our people in Palestine, who have called for a Day of Rage and international support and street actions in support of their struggle, and to publicize to the people across the world, but specifically here in New York, the conditions under which Palestinians are suffering.”

Sanders Campaign Apologizes to Pro-Palestinian Activists Ousted from Rally

 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign has apologized to a group of Students for Justice in Palestine activists who were asked to leave a Sanders rally in Boston unless they took down their sign. The sign read “Will Ya Feel the Bern for Palestine?” Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver told the decision was made by a “low-level volunteer” and “100 percent” should not have happened.
–Democracy Now, October 7, 2015

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UNRW: Your help made a difference!

Posted by uscsjp on October 7, 2015

Once again, thank you for your generous assistance to Palestine refugees from Yarmouk. The response from individual donors like you to UNRWA’s #SaveYarmouk campaign was heart-warming. 350,248 USD was raised, enabling UNRWA to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs of thousands of refugees:
  • 4,792 refugees received one-month food parcelscontaining quantities of staple foods such as rice, pasta, lentils, sugar, canned meat, milk powder and cooking oil.
  • 3,488 refugees received USD 64 of cash assistance to help cover the cost of food, rent, transport, clothing and additional heath care for two months.
Your assistance made a real difference in the lives of refugees who had endured weeks or even months of brutal fighting and malnutrition, and often had to flee with only the clothing they were wearing. Their testimonies speak of incredible hardship, but also of enduring resilience.

Voices from Syria

“I am so happy to receive the food basket. The food aid helps us through displacement and gives us good nutrition at no cost.”
Sixty-year old Amneh and her two daughters fled their home with only clothing and a few personal belongings. They now live in a rented house in Damascus and struggle to meet their monthly costs. Food assistance helps them prioritise their other spending on rental and household needs.
“Thanks to a food distribution by UNRWA I can make meals for my family, otherwise we would be hungry.”
Darin, her husband and two children fled their home as a result of the conflict, and have been struggling to meet the spiraling cost of food and other goods.  Darin uses all the food items in the basket provided by UNRWA, and particularly appreciates having milk and fruit jam to provide essential nutrients for her children.
“We have escaped violence and fighting but not hardship. As the conflict continues, this assistance represents an increasingly important source of support to us.”
Safa’a and her two young children travelled over seven hours from their temporary home pick up cash assistance from the UNRWA distribution centre in Damascus. Safa’a and her family have been displaced three times as a result of the crisis. Herhusband owned his own shop, but now relies on sporadic farm labouring to help support the family. Safa’a is worried her children are suffering from psychological distress, and used her cash assistance to buy clothes and food for them.

What is happening now?

While TV crews are gone, the situation in Yarmouk remains extremely severe. The fighting continues unabated. With no reliable access to electricity or clean water, refugees are forced to rely on dilapidated wells and ground water. Wretched living conditions such as these inside Yarmouk and in neighboring areas favour the spread of communicable diseases, such as typhoid fever.
UNRWA continues to respond, deploying medical personnel and treating hundreds of patients on every mission. The agency’s priority remains the continued response to urgent health needs and expansion of humanitarian aid to provide life-saving food to civilians in Yarmouk.
UNRWA will continue to stand with Palestine refugees in Yarmouk and throughout Syria in their most dire hour of need. You can learn more about the situation, how UNRWA is responding on UNRWA’s website and how you can help here
On behalf of Amneh, Darin, Safa’a and their families, as well as the thousands of Palestine refugees who received vital assistance thanks to the #SaveYarmouk campaign, I thank you for your generosity.
In solidarity,

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Support Rasmea Odeh in court Oct. 14 in Cincinnati, Ohio (Committee to Stop FBI Repression)

Posted by uscsjp on October 7, 2015

This is a critical moment in legal process.

Stand with Rasmea and fill the appeals courthouse in Cincinnati! We will organize a support rally in front of the courthouse at 8 AM EDT on Wednesday, October 14, 2015, and then fill the courtroom immediately thereafter, as Rasmea’s defense and the prosecution each present their oral arguments to a three-judge panel.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015, at 8 a.m. EDT (appeal starts at 9 a.m. EDT)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
540 Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse, 100 E. 5th Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Register here to join us in Cincinnati on October 14. Visit Please email with any questions.

The Rasmea Defense Committee contends that Judge Gershwin Drain did not allow for a full and fair trial, and believes that is why Rasmea was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison and deportation. We are confident that she has solid arguments on appeal, and wrote in late July that the “defense argues conclusively that the government ‘never really addresses the basic constitutional deprivations asserted in Ms. Odeh’sopening appellate brief,’ and that Rasmea is ‘entitled to present her complete defense to the jury,’ which can only happen in a new trial.”

After the three appellate judges hear oral arguments on October 14, a decision will be made between two and six months later. If the court agrees with the defense and overturns the conviction and the sentencing, the case gets sent back to the prosecution to possibly re-file charges, whereupon the entire trial process begins anew. But this time, evidence of torture, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), etc., would be allowed into the courtroom.

If the court upholds the conviction but disagrees with the sentence, the appellate judges send new sentencing guidelines back to Drain for re-sentencing. In the worst possible scenario, her conviction and sentencing would be upheld, meaning that she would have to serve 18 months in prison and then be deported. If this happens, the defense could ask that all of the 6th Circuit appellate court judges, not just the three panelists, review the case, as a last ditch effort to win the appeal.

We are fundraising, organizing public events, and pitching Rasmea’s story to media across the country and the world.

This is a critical moment – support Rasmea Odeh in court!
Register here to join us in Cincinnati on October 14. For more information with any questions.

The national Rasmea Defense Committee is led by United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR), and Coalition to Protect People’s Rights (CPPR); and includes 8th Day Center for Justice, Al-Awda NY: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)-Chicago, ADC National, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), ANSWER Coalition, Anti-War Committee (AWC)-Chicago, AWC-Minneapolis, Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Chicago Light Brigade, Committee Against Political Repression, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Chicago, CAIR-Michigan, Friends of Sabeel-North America, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, International League of Peoples’ Struggle-U.S., Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (KRCC), Latino Organization of the Southwest (LOS), Lifta Society, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice (MECAWI), Middle East Crisis Committee (CT), Milwaukee Palestine Solidarity Coalition, National Boricua Human Rights Network, National Lawyers Guild (NLG), National Students for Justice in Palestine, Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, Palestinian Youth Movement-USA Branch, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, United African Organization, United National Antiwar Coalition, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Voces de la Frontera, Women Against Military Madness (WAMM), and Z Collective.

Articles about Rasmea Odeh and the Anti-War 23

Five years later: Last target of FBI witch-hunt faces jail, deportation
By Chip Gibbons

Why Are FBI Agents Trammeling the Rights of Antiwar Activists?
By Patrick G. Eddington

“Peace for Colombia, Free Simon Trinidad” news articles

1. Time for President Obama to free Simon Trinidad
By Tom Burke

2. Release Simon Trinidad, Peace in Colombia video:

3. Colombia’s RCN national news coverage with video, in Spanish

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