Nov 7-8, 2014
Friends of Sabeel of North America (FOSNA) Conference

The Madison Times, October 22, 2014

In a year when enduring images have been burned into our collective memories of the great loss of life and indescribable destruction that occurred in the Gaza a few short months ago, a landmark national conference is coming to Madison on Nov. 7-8 that seeks to chart the path to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

“Voices for Peace and Justice in the Holy Land,” is a two-day conference occurring at the UW-Madison’s Pyle Center that will examine the role of the United States in Palestine/Israel, at an event where participants can listen to voices not often heard in the quest for peace and justice in the Holy Land. Local organizers describe this as an opportunity to hear the stories and the political and theological perspectives of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and secular writers and activists concerned with justice and peace in Palestine/Israel.

The conference is sponsored on a national basis by the Friends of Sabeel of North America (FOSNA), as well as a variety of locally-based groups drawn from a diversity of social justice and religious traditions, and the UW-Madison chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Distinguished plenary speakers from the US and Israel/Palestine will address the current situation on the ground in Gaza, in the West Bank, and for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and will explore the impact of US foreign policy, the media, and religion on the region’s struggle for justice.

The goal of the conference, organizers say, is to educate, inspire, and make connections to galvanize advocacy for justice in Palestine-Israel. In this sense, the gathering is seen as a place where the seeds of future action can be planted, and as the conference ends, the real work will be just beginning.

Continue reading

Nov 1 – 10, 2014
Exhibit: Boycott! The Art of Economic Activism

You have an opportunity to view an exciting and beautiful exhibit that highlights posters promoting social justice boycott movements from the 1950s to the present.

The exhibit, created by American Friends Service Committee and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, features 59 posters from more than 20 boycotts, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, United Farm Workers’ grape and lettuce boycott, divestment from South Africa to protest Apartheid, boycotts of corporations using sweatshops, the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divest and Sanctions, and many others.

Activists and solidarity groups have often responded to injustices by implementing boycott and divestment campaigns targeting companies and governments that support and sustain these injustices- and posters have been a primary tool for educating about the issues and inspiring people to action. This exhibition uses powerful posters to demonstrate the effectiveness of boycotts as a nonviolent tactic to end injustice and oppression.

The free exhibit will open at The Crossing, 1127 University Avenue, Madison with a reception on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 2 pm, featuring a welcome by Rev. J. Manny Santiago and a lecture and discussion led by Professor Joseph Elder. It will be on display at The Crossing during the following times:

Saturday November 1: 1:30-5 pm
Sunday November 2: 2-7 pm
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday November 3 – 5: 9am – 8 pm

On Friday and Saturday Nov. 7 & 8 the exhibit moves to the Voices for Peace and Justice in the Holy Land conference at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street, Madison. Hours are November 7, Noon-6 pm & November 8, 9am – 5 pm.

Continue reading

U.S. Farmworkers and Palestinian Farmers share 2014 Food Sovereignty Prize

Family Farm Defenders, September 16, 2014

Honorees Represent Communities Defending Their Human Rights to Food in the Face of Policies of Land and Water Grabbing, Migration, and Militarization

palestina.jpgDes Moines, IA — The US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) is honored to name the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) of Palestine, based in Gaza and the West Bank, and Community to Community Development /Comunidad a Comunidad (C2C) of Bellingham, Washington, as co-recipients of the 2014 Food Sovereignty Prize.

Their stories of continuous struggle to defend the rights of their communities – farmers and fishers in the occupied Palestinian territories and migrant Mexican farm workers in Washington State, both seeking to produce their own food, on their own land, in their home communities – stand in stark contrast to the storylines coming from agribusiness: that technological changes to crops can meet human needs and resolve hunger.

Palestine has been under Israeli occupation for decades and this summer faced heightened pressure, including thousands killed and many more injured from bombings, destruction of homes, schools, hospitals, farms, and fishing boats, and hundreds of arrests without due process, and the continued building of settlements on Palestinian farmland. UAWC builds farmers cooperatives and seed banks, and supports women’s leadership, while continuing to seek its members’ human rights to food, land, and water.

Continue reading

An American Jew in Palestine

Steven Davidson's summer taught him that peacetime and wartime in Palestine aren't a whole lot different.Steven Davidson’s summer taught him that peacetime and wartime in Palestine aren’t a whole lot different. (Steven Davidson / The Chronicle)

Steven Davidson, The Chronicle, September 24, 2014

HEBRON, Palestine—I recall the sermons in my religious services growing up. During the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, there were always calls for peace and prayers for Israel. A country symbolizing the triumphant conclusion to centuries of persecution, Israel was the home to my people — the Jews. And they had waited so long to return. It wasn’t until this summer in which I had the honor of doing so. Although I began my trip under the normal auspices of going on Birthright, my trip took me far from the comforts of Israel, into a land where few Jews go — Palestine.

Continue reading

Fallen Donors

Renouncing Our Role and Involvement in the Jewish National Fund

For years we put our pennies and dimes into our blue boxes, secure in the notion that we were contributing money for an ethical cause greater than ourselves – a cause that would ensure the survival of a nation and the beautification of a desert.

For years our parents and teachers led us to believe that here was the proof of Jewish superiority: that our donations went directly towards a tangible object – a tree, something that every country needs. When most countries were destroying their forests Israel was building its own. Where antisemitism was rampant in most countries, Judaism was embraced in Israel. We could be sure that in our countries, in the Diaspora, when the next Holocaust happened, we would be welcomed to sit safely and comfortably under a tree that we had planted ourselves in Israel.

Our parents and teachers left a few things out of their lessons. They probably didn’t know. But we can’t make the same mistake with our children.

Continue reading