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Apartheid-Free Newsletter – May 2024

Painting by Sophia Elian, “Hanging Onto Stolen Childhood” 

Throughout the past month, those of us in Apartheid-Free Communities advocated for a permanent ceasefire in Congress, especially during Tax week. We witnessed Google workers being fired for their opposition to Project Nimbus, and saw students across the United States who were suspended and evicted for occupying their university centers with encampments. We celebrated the divestment of Richmond, CA from Israeli apartheid, making it the second city in the U.S. after Hayward, CA to divest from Israel and companies that profit off of Israeli apartheid, as well as the United Methodist Church, who voted to divest from Israel bonds. We also attended and presented at congregations, conferences, and webinars to educate each other about the movement. Despite the progress and the challenges, we continued to constantly cling to our phones for updates, praying for an end to the genocide in Gaza. 

As Israel continues to threaten a ground invasion of Rafah, a small city with over 1 million displaced Palestinian refugees, our dedication to ending Israeli apartheid remains steadfast. Students have catalyzed the movement in solidarity with Gaza, demanding their universities divest from Israeli apartheid while simultaneously fighting repression from both university administration and police. Our featured article this month explores the importance of students’ role in the liberation movement.  

Featured Article
“The People’s University is Apartheid-Free” 

“Last Thursday morning, George Washington University students set up Washington DC’s first encampment protesting Israel’s war on Gaza in coalition with seven other universities in the DC area. Following the Columbia encampment on April 17, the global struggle of Palestinians has become the major focus of American students. From Columbia to UCLA, from NYU to Stanford, students have transformed their campuses into hubs of resistance, demanding accountability and calling for an end to the complicity in the oppression of the Palestinian people. Close to 40 universities have been “occupied” with student encampments, which have been set up to demand university divestment from apartheid Israel…”  – Noor Nabulsi, American Friends Service Committee
Read the Full Article 

Upcoming Events

Christian voices for Palestine’s Webinar: Challenging Christian Silence Regarding the Gaza Genocide Saturday, May 4, 12:30 pm ET Palestinian Christians have been beseeching Christians globally to name the Gaza genocide for what it is and to join them in demanding, “No more of this.” But where is the outcry of Christian churches and leaders in response to the on-going genocide? Register here.

Apartheid-Free Webinar: The Palestinian Experience in Israel Thursday, May 9, 12pm ET  Join us for our webinar on Thursday, May 9, as guest speaker Mohammad Zeidan will discuss the realities of apartheid in occupied Palestine and the discrimination faced by the Arab minority within Israel. 

Premiere screening of Community Peacemaker Team (CPT)’s documentary “ضو – Light Saturday, May 18th, 1pm ET This documentary film explores hope from within the oppressive grip of the Israeli occupation. The film, captured by Palestinian CPTers under strict closures and curfews, will take audiences on a journey through Al-Khalil/ Hebron and Masafer Yatta/South Hebron Hills under apartheid. If your community is interested in sponsoring the documentary, You can find event sponsorship tiers here.   

AFSC Action Hour for a Cease-fire Now Every Friday at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT Join AFSC staff every Friday at 12 p.m. ET/ 9 a.m. PT to hear updates from Gaza. Then, take action with us as we contact our elected officials and call for an immediate cease-fire and humanitarian access to Gaza. Our elected officials need to keep hearing from us.

Recent Events

Addressing ApartheidThe Lenten Ceasefire Campaign: Christian Zionism, B.D.S., and the Pursuit of a Christ-Centered Response to Apartheid, Dispossession, and Genocide in the Holy LandThis extensive webinar with both Arabic and ASL translations available, was organized by members of the Christians for Ceasefire Coalition. Please watch the recording here if you missed it last March! Arabic translation here.  

Pursuing a Just Peace in Israel/Palestine: What Can Quakers Bring to the Table? If you missed Steve Chase’s speech on Pendle Hill last month, watch the recording here. Speaking from several years of research, reflection, and prayerful discernment, Quaker activist Steve Chase addresses the root causes of the conflict and how we might move toward a future of peace and justice for all in Israel/Palestine.  

Israeli Apartheid In the News

Richmond becomes 2nd US city to divest from Israel after Hayward “In a 5-to-1 vote, Richmond’s city council voted to divest from companies doing business in Israel. It’s the second U.S. city to do so, after Hayward. “One thing we can do actively, is divestment. And thanks to the student movement, they brought it out to our attention again. It was the right time,” says Richmond City Councilmember Soheila Bana, who co-authored the resolution.”
– Anser Hassan, ABC7 News
Anti-boycott bill puts New Hampshire lawmakers on the wrong side of history “Jews across the country have been at the forefront of protests and actions against Israel’s war on Gaza. Just last week, 67 Jews in New Hampshire delivered a letter to our members of Congress, urging their action for an immediate and sustained ceasefire, a suspension of military weapons to Israel, and an immediate restoration of U.S. funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for humanitarian assistance.” – Maggie Fogarty, The Concord

More News

– UMKR, United Methodist Church votes to divest bonds of Israel and other occupier governments
– Christian Peacemaker Teams, The Power and Complexity of BDS 
– Montclair Friends Meeting, A Call for Peace & Justice in Israel-Palestine from Quakers in Montclair, NJ
– Al Jazeera, What is Project Nimbus and why are Google workers protesting Israel deal
– YES! Magazine, Water: Israel, Gaza, West Bank
– Haaretz, Netanyahu on Inequality: Israel ‘Not Doing Badly’, Except With ultra-Orthodox and Arabs
– The Business Standard, Google workers protest $1.2 billion Project Nimbus contract with Israel: report   
– Middle East Monitor, Will the ICJ try Israel on charges of apartheid?
– Middle East Monitor, ‘We are a deeply polarized and divided community’: 40% of young American Jews think Israel is an apartheid state, is committing the crime of apartheid
– Dissident Voice, Unbecoming American: Did apartheid really end in 1991?
– The Hoya, SJP hosts annual Apartheid Week, demands peace in Gaza
– Chicago Reader, Artists against apartheid, Palestinian resistance
– Prism Reports, Israel’s apartheid tech ‘is booming’
– The Believer, Love and Murder in South Africa 
– CBS News New York, Columbia University has a long history of campus protests. Here’s a look back at some of them
– Claremont Courier, 20 Pomona College protesters arrested after occupying president’s office

Upcoming Dates for Organizing

The following holidays and events provide us with opportunities to organize actions. While we have listed many dates, feel free create an event around the holidays that best aligns with your community. Visit our Take Action page for ideas and inspiration on how you can take action for Palestine and live into the Apartheid-Free Pledge. 
International Labor Day: Wed, May 1
– World Press Freedom Day: Fri, May 3
– ✝️ Orthodox Easter: Sun, May 5
– Cinco de Mayo: Sun, May 5 
– World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day: Wed, May 8 
– Mother’s Day: Sun, May 12
– 🇵🇸 Anniversary of the 1948 Nakba: Wed, May 15 – In the Palestinian community, this day stands as a global plea for nonviolent demonstrations, commemorating the 750,000+ Palestinians forcefully displaced by Israel during the Nakba in 1948.
– National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week: May 19-25 
– Memorial Day: Mon, May 27 
– Amnesty International Day: Tue, May 28 

Actions and Moments of Togetherness
Please submit photos and videos of your community’s actions to palestineactivism@afsc.org to be considered for a feature in the newsletter!

People hold up Apartheid-Free signs, Floyd Friends Meeting
Tax Day protest in Albuquerque co-organized by AFSC New Mexico & JVP outside both senators’ offices. Neither staffers would open their doors for us to deliver a letter so I asked everyone who came to sign it saying that they came to their offices that day with the message we don’t want our taxes being used to arm Israel. 
  
Apartheid-Free’s National Organizer Allison Tanner speaking at the Alliance of Baptists Annual Gathering (left) and Alliance PIN leaders Leslie Withers and Mark Reeve sporting their commitment to End Israeli Apartheid (right).  
Apartheid-Free Continues to Grow

As of May 1, 313 communities have signed the pledge! This includes 128 faith-based communities of Buddhist, Christian, Interfaith, Jewish, and Muslim traditions; 114 solidarity communities; and 71 businesses and other communities.

Welcome to Apartheid-Free! Shout out to our new members who joined last month: 

Asian American Justice + Innovation Lab – Mission and Outreach Council of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church – Vargo Brothers Ferments – Alkhidmat Foundation  – Park Avenue Baptist Church – Rural Vermont – Presbyterian Church in Orland Park – Palestine Justice Coalition – Aoife – The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme – Riverside Church at Park and King – Bathurst United Church – Palestine Network – Shining Region, The United Church of Canada – Episcopal Peace Fellowship Chapter of Northern Vermont – Church of the Good Shephard  – Partners for Palestine – Dancing Bee Gardens – Education Justice Coalition of Vermont – Vermont Coalition for Palestinian Liberation – Pax Christi Illinois – Peace Action Network of Lancaster – Save Our City Coalition – Roswell Community Masjid – Westtown Monthly Meeting – Georgia Muslim Action Committee – Tiffany Lanelle – New Sanctuary Movement of Atlanta – Midway Ecom LCC – Pittsburg Mennonite Church – Pax Christi Northern CA 
Update from AFSC Staff in Gaza


“In addition to this push for accountability in the corrupt world of FIFA, the American Friends Service Committee on April 28 held a youth soccer tournament in Rafah. The AFSC is expanding the incredible work they do on the ground, having provided aid to more than 541,000 people in Gaza since October. A soccer tournament serves a similar purpose. It is an effort to bring normalcy and joy to lives that have been violently disrupted. “The young people of Gaza have experienced so much hardship and trauma over the last six months,” said Firas Ramlawi, manager for AFSC’s Gaza office and one of the tournament organizers. “They have lost parents, siblings, and loved ones. They have been displaced from their homes and their schools and community spaces have been bombed. It is so important that they experience moments of joy and resiliency in the midst of all this pain.”
– Dave Zirin, Palestinians Stand Up to Israel Through Soccer 

Is your community, congregation, or solidarity organization actively fighting against racism, bigotry, and apartheid? If so, join the movement by signing the Apartheid-Free pledge – a powerful statement of dedication to fostering an inclusive and equitable society.

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