Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is a coalition of anti-Israel groups that promotes divestment from Israeli companies, organizes anti-Israel events and lobbies the U.S. Congress to end American support for Israel as long as it occupies the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.

In June 2007, it organized its first major anti-Israel event with United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), a two-day gathering in Washington DC, called “The World Says No to Israeli Occupation.”

The US Campaign has grown to encompass over 200 member groups in six years through its partnerships, resources and activity. Its major allies include Friends of Sabeel-North America, one of the driving forces behind a campaign by mainline Protestant churches to divest from Israel; UFPJ, the anti-war coalition whose rallies have included anti-Israel messages; and the Council for the National Interest (CNI), an anti-Israel organization behind many inflammatory anti-Israel ads in major national newspapers.

The US Campaign further solidified its relationship with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) in June, when attendees of its demonstration joined a related teach-in hosted by ADC.

The organization serves as an informational clearinghouse for its member groups, organizing conferences, educational events and protests to further its anti-Israel platform and attract those who appreciate its propaganda value.

Through its Annual National Organizers’ Conference (ANOC), the US Campaign attracts new members and formulates its strategies to combat U.S. support of Israel and its practices in the Palestinian territories.

The annual conferences are often sponsored by regional anti-Israel member groups and attract speakers whose views on Israel echo their positions. Speakers have included Mazin Qumsiyeh, divestment activist Will Youmans, and Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). These speakers have also held workshops on issues ranging from divestment tactics to congressional advocacy.

In order to further understand its positions, the US Campaign urges its members to travel to Israel with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).

The group was founded in 2001 by several anti-Israel activists during meetings in New York and Washington DC, including Josh Ruebner, its Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator. Ruebner, an American-born Israeli citizen, often likens Israeli practices in the Palestinian territories to “ethnic cleansing

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