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Rallies have been held around the world in opposition to Israel's recent air strikes on Gaza and the collective punishment carried out against the Palestinian people living there and in the West Bank. In Northern California, demonstrations have been held in San Francisco, Salinas, and Santa Cruz. According to the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), as of July 20, 460 Palestinians, including whole families, have been killed since July 8.
Jerusalem: Jewish activists light children’s dolls on fire at Yad Vashem to protest Gaza attack
Salinas: Direct Action Monterey Network statement in solidarity with Palestine
Free Palestine Rally in San Francisco
Santa Cruz: Community Members in Santa Cruz Protest Israel's Attacks on Gaza
New York: As Palestinian Death Toll Tops 100, New Yorkers Protest Israel’s Bombing of Gaza
List of the 460 Palestinians Killed Between 7/8 and 7/20
IMEMC: This Week in Palestine, July 11th, 2014
July 15 Global Solidarity Fast for Peace – Palestine/Israel
Port of Gaza Burns: Gaza's Ark As Well
Human shield reports from El-Wafa Hospital in Gaza
Israelis Watch as Gaza is Bombed
On June 10, activists rallied in front of Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San José to protest the unjust prosecution of 66-year-old Palestinian-American activist Rasmea Odeh. Last October, Homeland Security agents arrested Odeh after the Department of Justice charged her with “unlawful procurement of naturalization.” The Obama administration’s filing of these charges could result in her being stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported.
At approximately 2:45am on May 28, the University of California, Santa Cruz Student Union Assembly (SUA) passed a resolution calling for divestment from companies that profit from Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians with a majority vote of 22-14. While official discussion of the Divestment Bill was scheduled at 11pm, a SUA member motioned at approximately 8:15 to indefinitely table the bill. The motion failed, and the Divestment testimonials were initiated at 11:30pm.
Following the three hour debate, the first SUA vote on the resolution revealed widespread support for Divestment landing just shy of the necessary two-thirds majority. SUA representatives then voted to suspend the SUA bylaw dictating a two-thirds majority, instead requiring only a simple majority vote to pass the resolution. The resolution passed 22-14, a marked improvement over the previous 2013 UCSC Divestment Resolution, which failed 17-19.
The resolution was authored by members of the Committee for Justice in Palestine, a UCSC registered student organization, and endorsed by the UCSC chapters of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, Autonomous Students, and the Muslim Student Association. The resolution was also endorsed by several off-campus organizations such as Boycott from Within, the Santa Cruz Palestine Israel Action Committee, and the University of Cape Town Palestine Solidarity Forum.
Read More | See Also: Committee for Justice in Palestine at UCSC Moves Divestment Bill Forward
The San Francisco Commonwealth Club hosted an event entitled "LGBT Rights in Israel: 25 Years of Progress and Challenges" on April 25 featuring Arthur Slepian, Executive Director and Founder of A Wider Bridge. Slepian's role is to go around promoting the idea that Israel is a progressive, democratic society because it has LGBT rights for Jewish citizens of Israel.
Queer activists and Palestinian queers call this "pinkwashing" — using Israel's liberal policies on sexuality and gender as a smokescreen to cover up its crimes against Palestinians, migrant workers, especially recently African migrants, and its apartheid system that legally discriminates between citizens on the basis of nationality and religion.
Activists handed out copies of a brochure called "The Truth About Gay Israel" as well as an article by Gheith Hilal of the Palestinian queer group, Al Qaws, laying out Eight Questions Palestinian Queers Are Tired of Hearing.
Community members gathered in downtown Santa Cruz on Tax Day, April 15, to protest the U.S. government's subsidy of $8 million a day in military aid to Israel. Tax Day is when federal income tax returns are due in the United States, and demonstrators held signs that indicated what the government should be spending citizens' hard earned dollars on, if the money wasn't wasted on military aid to Israel. They also held signs that read, "Apartheid: Wrong for South Africans, Wrong for Palestinians."
According to If Americans Knew
, Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid since 1976, and in the last 20 years economic aid to that country has been slowly phased out in favor of military aid. Israel receives about $3 billion ($8 million a day) directly from the United States in military financing each year, which is about one-fifth of what is allocated for the entire foreign aid budget.
Read More |
If Americans Knew |
Palestine-Israel Action Committee Santa Cruz
On March 19, a group of more than 60 protesters demonstrated at the Hewlett-Packard shareholders' meeting because of its business dealings with the Israeli military. They said HP is complicit in oppressing Palestine because it makes the technology for biometric cards that contain large amounts of data on the card carrier. Those cards are used by Israel to segregate and discriminate against Palestinians.
While protesters sang and chanted loudly in front of the Santa Clara Convention Center, some members of the "Stop HP Coalition" inside the shareholders' meeting introduced a proposal calling for an in-depth look at HP's dealings with the Israeli military and its human rights abuses. Although the measure was defeated by 83%, speakers in favor of the proposal, including two Presbyterian (USA) ministers, pressed their case, forcing HP CEO Meg Whitman to acknowledge it; Whitman said that the company "will look into this."
Human rights activists who organized the day's events say the task ahead is to get HP to agree to keep their commitments to meet with the coalition and to look into the issues brought forward. The Coalition to Stop HP includes: The American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace: Bay Area, South Bay and Santa Cruz chapters, Global Exchange, UC Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine, Northern California Friends of Sabeel, and San Francisco Veterans for Peace.
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Jewish Voice for Peace | Friends of Sabeel | San Francisco Veterans for Peace | American Friends Service Committee