USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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

Archive for March, 2016

Irish Parliamentarian Richard Boyd Barrett Confronts Israeli Ambassador

Posted by uscsjp on March 30, 2016

–originally viewed on Tony Greenstein’s blog:


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Letter from CODEPINK: CODEPINK protests AIPAC – one arrested

Posted by uscsjp on March 28, 2016


A few weeks ago CODEPINK launched a petition asking Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to reject the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) invitation to speak at their annual policy conference in Washington DC. About a week later, Sanders announced that he was skipping the conference! Sanders is the only presidential candidate in American history to have declined an invitation to speak at AIPAC. Shortly afterwards, Sanders released a statement to AIPAC in which he expressing ed empathy for Palestinian suffering and promised, if elected, to be a friend to both Palestinians and Israelis.

While we applaud Sanders for skipping the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference and for his commendable statement in recognition of Palestinians’ human rights, we also know that more is needed. This is why while Donald Trump was inside addressing AIPAC, CODEPINK was outside protesting and engaging in civil disobedience.

Read about and watch why CODEPINK’s Ariel Gold chose to get arrested at the AIPAC conference.

The struggle for justice in Palestine has seen a lot of wins lately. Along with Sanders heeding our call to reject AIPAC, the month of March saw numerous wins in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, including a massive victory for CODEPINK’s Ahava campaign.

We know that when we fight, we win. That is why we are keeping the pressure up. CODEPINK is proud to be part of the Stolen Homes campaign asking Airbnb to stop listing homes in illegal Israeli settlements. Check out this mock website and leave a review telling Airbnb that they should abide by international law.

Together we can bring peace and equality to all people in Israel/Palestine.

Toward a just peace,

Ariel, Nancy K., and the entire CODEPINK team

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UCSD Guardian: UC Regents Condemns Anti-Semitism in Revision of Discrimination Guidelines

Posted by uscsjp on March 28, 2016

The UC Board of Regents voted to amend the University of California’s Statement of Principles Against Intolerance to include a condemnation of anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism at last Wednesday’s Regents meeting. However, the committee declined to condemn anti-Zionism as a form of discrimination in and of itself.

Anti-Zionism — a political ideology that opposes Israel’s right to exist in Palestine — has raised a lot of questions at the UC campuses ever since 521 alumni along with 23 education and Jewish advocacy groups submitted a petition to UC President Janet Napolitano last May. The petition called for the UC system to formally adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, which denounces statements about Israel that demonize or delegitimize the nation.

UCSD Hillel of San Diego Director David Singer expressed his support for the resolution, calling it a step in the right direction for a the UC system at which anti-Semitism has had tangible consequences. He said that it was “no coincidence” that UCSD’s Jewish student population declined by more than 60 percent over the last decade.

“Jewish students throughout the UC campuses have, for years, lived in the shadow of incidents of anti-Semitic speech, intimidation, vandalism and even violence,” Singer told the UCSD Guardian. “Yesterday’s condemnation by the Regents is an important step in defining the problem and pledging to ensure that the university is hate-free for all students.”

Examples of these incidents include one that occurred in February 2015, when vandals defaced a Jewish fraternity house at UC Davis with a Nazi swastika. More recently, members of UCLA’s student government questioned a student’s ability to remain unbiased because she was Jewish, and they planned to reject her nomination to their judicial board until a faculty advisor intervened.

Originally, the amendment stated that “anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California,” implying that anti-Zionism is a form of discrimination. However, some across the UC campuses have raised concerns that this would infringe on free speech.

Among them is the UC Academic Council, which sent its own letter to the Regents stating that the amendment would harm academic freedom. The council argued that it would cause “needless and expensive litigation, embarrassing to the university, to sort out the difference between intolerance on the one hand, and protected debate and study of Zionism and its alternatives on the other.”

Moreover, when the Guardian spoke to UCSD’s Students for Justice in Palestine last November, the organization expressed fear that the revision would silence all perspectives that opposed Israel.

“Any critique of Israeli policy, because of the nation’s identity as a Jewish state, would be labeled as anti-Semitic,” SJP said in a statement. “Anti-Zionist activity, such as that of SJP, strives to amplify Palestinian voices calling for their right to self-determination and their right to return to their homeland. This policy seeks to silence and censor these voices.”

Following these complaints, Regent Norman Pattiz, who proposed the amendment, revised it to state that “anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California.”

Singer applauded the revision, stating that it ensures that people can use their First Amendment rights by only targeting political beliefs that cross over into hateful speech.

“Freedom of speech is paramount, and we are encouraged that the resolution affirms this fact,” Singer said. “We respect the right of students to speak out for politics that they believe in. Yet, all too often we have seen criticism of Israel elicit deeply anti-Semitic undertones, or, worse, result in attacks on Jewish students.”

The University of California stands as the first and only public university system so far that has reaffirmed its opposition to anti-Semitic behavior.

The Guardian contacted the UC Office of the President and Students for Justice in Palestine regarding the UC Regents’ recent decision, but neither could be reached by press time.


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Protest Censorship of Palestinian History

Posted by uscsjp on March 18, 2016


Publishing giant McGraw-Hill Education has censored and is planning to destroy copies of a US college textbook entitled “Global Politics: Engaging a Complex World,” after complaints about a series of maps showing loss of Palestinian land from 1946-2000.

Send a letter to McGraw-Hill Education to let them know it is unacceptable to censor Palestinian history! 

Use the form below to send an email to McGraw-Hill Education executives. You can use these suggested points to serve as a reference for messages. Please make sure to write letters in your own words rather than repeating suggested points verbatim. Your signature will be automatically included so no need to write it.

  • This is a blatant example of censorship of an academic text for political reasons.
  • The maps in question were in fact accurate and only removed because of complaints from supporters of Israel who wish to prevent people from learning the truth about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and its ongoing theft of Palestinian land.
  • Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinian people and taking of their land, as illustrated by the censored maps, is the root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For students and others to properly understand what’s taking place in Israel-Palestine, it is vital for them to learn about this dispossession and the story told by these maps. This is why Israel’s supporters are working so hard to suppress them.
  • Rather than caving into complaints from right-wing supporters of Israel who wish to deny Palestinian history, McGraw-Hill should demonstrate professional integrity and reinstate the maps and textbooks in question.
  • The campaign to censor “Global Politics: Engaging a Complex World” is part of a larger campaign being waged by the Israeli government and its supporters to suppress the Palestinian narrative and Palestine human rights activism in the United States, including in schools and on campuses across the country. Last year, Palestine Legal (which is part of the Center for Constitutional Rights), released a report entitled “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech” that documented widespread attacks against student Palestine rights activists on US campuses, including numerous cases of attempted censorship.
  • It is deeply disappointing that McGraw-Hill Education has succumbed to political pressure and censored the Palestinian narrative from a textbook. I urge you to reconsider this shameful decision.

– See more at:

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Common Dreams: Brother and Sister, Children Aged 10 and 6, Killed by Israeli Bombing in Gaza

Posted by uscsjp on March 13, 2016

Two young children, 10-year-old Yassin Abu Khussa and his 6-year-old sister Israa Abu Khussa, were killed on Saturday when the Israeli military bombed an area near their home in Beit Lahiya in the Gaza Strip.

Reports indicate the missile (or missiles) struck while the family was asleep. Yassin was reportedly killed instantly in the blast, while Israa was transported to a hospital where she later died from her wounds. Other family members were also reported injured.

According to the Ma’an News Agency:

The Israeli air force had reportedly targeted four Hamas sites in the northern Gaza Strip early Saturday after four rockets were fired from the besieged enclave the evening before.

A Ma’an reporter based in Gaza said the children were in their house at the time of the airstrike, located in northwestern Beit Lahiya, adding that the family was still living in their home that was partially destroyed during the most recent Israeli offensive on the strip in 2014.The Israeli army said the rockets fired from Gaza had landed in open areas in southern Israel, without reporting damage or injuries.

Suleiman Abu Khoussa, 50, the children’s father, told the New York Times the family was sleeping in a makeshift shelter just outside their house when the missile struck.  “Their mother was screaming, ‘The children are dead, the children are dead,'” he said in a telephone interview. “I went and I saw them covered in blood.”

Lieutenant Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces, defended the bombing that killed the children by telling Reuters that rockets launch are an attempt by militants in Gaza to “threaten the security and safety of the people of southern Israel.”

The Israeli military, he continued with no apparent sense of irony or dread, “will continue to act to protect against those who threaten innocent lives.”

As the Israeli military occupation and blockade continues year after year, many organizations and individual experts have documented the severe negative impacts the siege is having on the Palestinian people – and children in particular – trapped in Gaza.

Despite those factors and international criticism, the United States government continues to provide political backing and military aid to the Israeli government.

Just last week, Vice President Joe Biden was in Israel to negotiate a new round of U.S. military aid, currently estimated at about $3 billion annually but likely to increase by as much as 50 percent.

“We’re committed to making sure that Israel can defend itself against all serious threats,” Biden told reporters after meeting with Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu.

So far this weekend, however, there has been no comment from the U.S. State Department or other officials about whether or not there will be any money left over to help the children of Gaza defend themselves against the “serious threats” they face.

Danny Muller, who has traveled to Gaza regularly since 2003 and previously coordinated humanitarian aid and psychological and social programs for children traumatized by war with the Middle East Children’s Alliance, the young people of Palestine have become the serial victims of the violence unleashed by the Israeli government and backed with U.S. support.

“Children do not choose where they live, where they play, or how they die—but we do,” said Muller in an email to Common Dreams on Sunday. “Israel and the United States continue to use collective punishment via carpet bombing in response to criminal acts. When you use intensive airstrikes on one of the most densely populated areas in world, the inevitable result is large numbers of the deaths of children. Just because this happens with regularity does not mean we should allow ourselves to lose our own humanity and not be horrified and take every appropriate action to bring retribution upon those responsible.”

–Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams, Sunday, March 13, 2016

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Get on the bus to D.C.! March 20 National March to Support Palestine is just two weeks away!

Posted by uscsjp on March 4, 2016

March 20 is just over two weeks away!

Get on the bus to D.C. to join the
National March to Support Palestine

Sunday, March 20, 2016
12 Noon: Assemble at the White House
1pm-5pm: March to the Washington, D.C., Convention Center

People are coming to D.C. by bus, van, car, train and plane from across the East Coast, Midwest and South, and from across the country. Here are just some cities organizing transportation:

New York City, New York · 212-694-8720
The bus will leave NYC on Sunday, March 20 at 7:00 a.m. and return the same day.
Click here to get your bus ticket today!

Chicago, Illinois · 773-463-0311
The bus will leave Chicago on Saturday, March 19 at 6:00 p.m.
Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Boston, Massachusetts · · 857-334-5084
The bus will leave Boston on Saturday, March 19 at 10:30 p.m.
Click here to get your bus ticket today!

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · 267-281-3859
The bus will leave Philadelphia on Sunday, March 20 at 8:00 a.m. and return the same day.
Click here to get your bus ticket today!

Dearborn, Michigan
Dearborn coordinator Ruba Odeh:

Columbus, Ohio

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

New Haven, Connecticut · 203-903-4480

If you can help bring other people from your area to Washington, D.C., on March 20, sign up today!


Al-Awda, The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition and the ANSWER Coalition are co-sponsoring the National March on March 20. Endorsers include: 14 Friends of Palestine – Marin, Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, Alliance for Global Justice, Al-Nakba Awareness Project, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Berkeley Women in Black, Brash For New Jersey, Cindy Sheehan, Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel, Committee for Palestinian Rights – Howard County, MD, CU-Divest!, Deir Yassin Remembered, Free Palestine Movement, Friends of Sabeel – North America, Hilton Head for Peace, Indiana Center for Middle East Peace, International Action Center, International Solidarity Movement – Northern California, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, Media Watch on Hunger & Poverty, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Middle East Crisis Response, Neturei Karta, National Lawyers Guild, Orange County Peace Action, OWS Special Projects Affinity Group, Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace, Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Solidarity Iran – SI, St. Pete for Peace, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), Veterans for Peace, Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, Voices for Justice in Palestine, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and more!

Click here to become an endorser of this important action.



Speakers include: Dr. Cornel West, professor of philosophy and Christian practice at Union Theological Seminary and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University; Abbas Hamideh, co-founder, Al-Awda, Palestine Right to Return Coalition & National Organizer; Sabry Wazwaz, Palestinian documentary filmmaker and activist; Laila El-Haddad, award-winning Palestinian author and speaker; Brian Becker, Natioanl Director, ANSWER Coalition; Rami Ibrahim, Palestinian kickboxing world champion-USKA; Fatina Abdrabboh, attorney, Executive Director, ADC-Michigan; Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney general; Eugene Puryear, ANSWER Coalition; Amer Zahr, Palestinian comedian and entertainer; Said Durrah, Palestinian comedian and entertainer; Joe Catron, American journalist, Gaza massacres on the ground in 2012 and 2014; Omar Kurdi, Arabic singer, poet and human rights activist; Robert Matin, Australian International Palestine Activist; Iyad Burnat, Palestinian activist, head of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall; Rev. Graylan Hagler, Senior Minister, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, Washington, D.C.; Robby Martin, Irish International Palestine activist; Rabbi Weiss, Neturei Karta; Ahmad N Abuznaid, Palestinian-American attorney, co-founder of the Dream Defenders; and more!


The National March and Rally to Support Palestine on Sunday, March 20 is timed to coincide with the opening of the convention of AIPAC, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. JOIN US IN DC to Stand with Palestine, say NO to the racist reign of terror and the Apartheid Wall, and say YES to the right of Palestinian refugees to return home. We must stand together to reject the efforts by the Israeli state and settlers to abuse, violate and evict the Palestinian people. We say NO to racism and YES to self-determination!

Please join and help bring thousands of people to Washington, D.C., on Sunday, March 20, 2016.

If you are coming to D.C. and need housing, click here for some information about hotels.

Free Palestine!

Click here to RSVP today!

Please circulate this widely via email and social networking websites:

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UNRWA: Reflections on the West Bank

Posted by uscsjp on March 3, 2016

On Friday, I visited an UNRWA school at Aida camp in the West Bank town of Bethlehem to meet with leaders of the student council. I was welcomed by a kind man who immediately offered me coffee, the standard warm hospitality of the Middle East that makes any visitor automatically feel like family.What I learned at this school will forever stay with me. The boys in the student council told me the story of their classmate, 13-year-old Abed. Last October, Abed walked out of his UNRWA school and was instantly shot and killed by the IDF. No reason. No warning.

His classmates were so composed as they told me what a bright soul Abed was. They were so strong as they told me how they still save his empty seat in the classroom every day, decorating it in the hopes that Abed will see this and know that they will never forget him.

What I learned later is that Abed’s father was the man who offered me the coffee. He took a job at the school after Abed’s death because he wanted to be close to Abed’s memory. Perhaps he also hoped to help and protect other students, no longer able to help and protect his own son.

As I was saying my goodbyes to the students, one of the boys left me with the haunting question, “what would you do if you had to live like us?” I had no answer.

Since October 2015, UNRWA has seen an alarming increase in protection violations in the West Bank, including the killing, injuring, and unlawful detainment of children, collective punishment in the form of tear gas, sound bombs, and disproportionate use of “rubber” bullets, and the return of punitive home demolitions.

UNRWA documents all violations, provides legal referrals and monetary support to families affected, and provides supplementary educational support to children detained for extended amounts of times and psychosocial support activities to children and adults in need.

But with the biggest increase in violence against Palestinians since the second Intifada, we can’t do this alone. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to UNRWA’s 2016 Emergency Appeal. Your support will be life-changing for families like Abed’s.

Donate to UNRWA USA

This email concludes UNRWA USA’s time in the field. My biggest takeaway has been that the situation for Palestine refugees, whether in Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank, or Gaza, is quite bleak, but it is not without hope. I hope you’ll continue to stand with UNRWA as we work to bring hope to refugees in need.

As always, thank you so much for your continued compassion and generosity.

In solidarity,
Abby Smardon
Executive Director

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Al-Qeeq Suspends His Strike After Reaching An Agreement For His Release

Posted by uscsjp on March 3, 2016

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that hunger striking journalist Mohammad al-Qeeq, who is held by Israel without charges or trial, has suspended his strike that lasted for 94 days, after reaching an agreement for his release, in May.


Lawyers Hanan al-Khatib and Hiba Masalha, of the Palestinian Detainees’ Committee, said al-Qeeq has officially suspended his hunger strike, on Friday 26, in a statement made in front of his family and Arab political leaders, including lawyers, Arab Members of Knesset and members the Detainees’ Parents Committee.

The PPS said the agreement is an official declaration of ending his strike, in exchange for his release on May 21, 2015, and that he will continue to receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals until his release.

Head of the Detainees’ Committee Issa Qaraqe said al-Qeeq’s will, and determination, overcame Israel’s policies of death, and that he managed to challenge Israel’s illegal Administrative Detention policies, that enable Israel to hold hundreds of Palestinians indefinitely captive, without charges.

Qaraqe’ thanked the Palestinians, their institutions and all Palestine solidarity activists around the world, for their support. He also thanked all lawyers involved with al-Qeeq’s case and the fight for his release.

–Friday, Feb 26th, 2016

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