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Preview: Anna's Eyewitness Reports from Palestine

Anna's Eyewitness Reports from Palestine

Stories & photographs from a Jewish American's peacework documenting human rights abuses & supporting nonviolent direct action in the West Bank with the Int'l Women's Peace Service.

Updated: 2018-02-23T14:20:31.128+02:00


Will you come with me to Palestine?


Dear friends, I write you with a heavy heart as Israel's attacks on the Palestinian people continue to escalate. In the last week, at least 172 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, of which about 80% were civilians and 36 were children. 1,140 Palestinians have been injured, including nearly 300 children. At least 25,000 children are seeking psychosocial support, according to the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU). People in Gaza issued this heartbreaking letter and call to action on Saturday: If you have not yet, I hope you will take action by demonstrating locally, contacting your congressperson, and more. You can find actions and resources here:
The main reason I am writing is to invite you to join me on a delegation I am co-leading to Palestine this Fall, October 25 - November 7, 2014. You can find details about the delegation, logistics, application, and more here. This is the annual Olive Harvest Delegation, which I have always wanted to lead. My time participating in the Olive Harvest while living in Palestine was unforgettable. From the website:

This delegation will provide an opportunity to participate in the Palestinian olive harvest season — generally a time of great community activism, where people of all ages from Palestine, Israeli peace and justice groups, and international groups join farmers as they reap their harvest. It is international support that makes the harvest possible in many cases. You will hear from Palestinian farmers and learn of the importance of agriculture to the Palestinian economy and culture. As with other delegations, you will also meet additional Israelis and Palestinians working for peace and justice.
To learn more about the standard components of all delegations, click here.
The delegation is with the Interfaith Peace-Builders, an extraordinary organization for which I have tremendous respect. They provide strong support and orientation for participants before, during, and after the trip. They are extremely responsible and it is an honor to travel with them. You will be in great hands, and it would be a great privilege for me to take the journey with you. I hope you'll consider applying! Click here for more info or to apply.
As the violence against Palestinians increases, it is more important than ever to bear witness and to show solidarity. Remember that the danger faced by non-Palestinians is nothing compared to that faced by everyday people -- from toddlers to grandmothers -- just trying to live their lives with dignity.

As always, for more regular updates and action items from me (since I rarely post to this list), please join the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation listserve by clicking here.

Yours truly,

Meet Me in St Louis!


Dear friends,

I continue to send most of my emails in my capacity as National Organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, via our listserve there. If you aren't on it yet, please join by clicking here!

I have been working most of the year on two church divestment campaigns, both of which ended with some historic victories. Here are my accounts of both:

- My article on Jadaliyya about the Presbyterian divestment and boycott initiatives
- Our statement reporting back from the Methodist general conference

The movement is growing more quickly than most of us can keep up with. We are reaching a critical mass and a breaking point (see the Jadaliyya article above for what I mean) with some victories we thought would take many more years to achieve.

That's why I'm so excited to announce our upcoming national organizers conference in St Louis. See our announcement below. I hope many of you can make it!

~ Anna

Join the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation for our 11th Annual National Organizers' Conference September 21-23 at St. Louis University!
Register by August 21 for $80 registration and special hotel room rates!

Our conference is an opportunity for our member groups and activists from across the country to come together and strengthen our efforts to end U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid policies toward Palestinians. With nearly 380 member groups now a part of the coalition, this year's conference will be a great opportunity for strategizing, networking and sharing our achievements and struggles.

Register and find more information at

We will start the conference at 7:00pm on Friday, September 21 with a panel discussion on the Arab uprisings and their impact on organizing to change U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel.

Speakers and presenters include:

Dalit Baum, Co-founder of Who Profits from the Occupation
Hatem Bazian, Chairman of American Muslims for Palestine
Phyllis Bennis, Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies
Remi Kanazi, Author of Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance
Sydney Levy is Director of Advocacy at Jewish Voice for Peace
Linda Sarsour, National Advocacy Director for the National Network for Arab American Communities.

The weekend's program will include panels and workshops discussing:

Engaging Faith Communities
BDS Training
Campus Activism
Academic and Cultural Boycott
Organizing and Coalition Building.

Check out our website to register, book your hotel room, and submit a workshop proposal.

Contact Ramah Kudaimi at or 202-332-0994 if you have any questions.

Urgent Call to Action on the 65th Day of a Hunger Strike by Khader Adnan


Dear friends,A Palestinian man named Khader Adnan is now on his 65th day of a hunger strike since December 18th, 2011. He could die at any moment--he is in "immediate danger of death." Yesterday, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association published this update . Here is one excerpt:Israel's High Court of Justice has today scheduled a petitions hearing regarding the case of Khader Adnan to take place Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 11:30am. The petition was filed by Khader Adnan's lawyers on 15 February. The High Court of Justice was provided with a detailed medical report prepared on 14 February by an Israeli-accredited doctor on behalf of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel). Despite the elaborate medical report, which confirmed that Khader Adnan "is in immediate danger of death," and that "a fast in excess of 70 days does not permit survival," the Israeli High Court appointed the petition session for 23 February with no guarantees that a decision will be made on the same day. By then, Khader Adnan—if alive—will have reached the 69th day of his ongoing hunger strike.Ways to take action and more background information on Palestinian prisoners and administrative detainees can be found in the following Urgent Call to Action issued today by ddameer, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights: We call upon you to exert all possible influence and pressure on the Israeli Authorities to immediately release detainee Khader Adnan, whose life is in immediate danger as he has been on a hunger strike for the past 64 days. The arbitrary detention of Adnan commenced on 17 December 2011, when he was kidnapped from his home in the northern West Bank village of Arrabe, during a nightly raid carried out by Israeli soldiers. His two young daughters and pregnant wife were witness to this. Adnan initiated his current hunger strike on 18 December, protesting being detained without charges or being notified of the reason for his detention. He is being detained without charge or trial under a four-month administrative detention order, which could be indefinitely renewed for the duration of six months. For the past decades Israel has applied the procedure of administrative detention on a large scale, systematically imprisoning thousands of Palestinians, as a tool of political oppression. This is a grave violation of the fourth Geneva Convention as well as the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture. Khader Adnan has the law on his side. His life should be saved and the law should be respected. We urge you to make direct contact with the responsible Israeli officials and authorities, demanding the immediate release of Khader Adnan, in a critical attempt to save his life. Finally, please adopt this call and spread the appeal from your respective capacity and/or organization. It is time to act. Tomorrow might be too late. Contact: Minister of Justice, Yaakov Neeman 29 Tsalch Adin Street Jerusalem 91490 Telephone: +972 2 646-6666 Fax: +972 2 670-6357 Email: Military Judge Advocate General, Brigadier General Danny Efroni 6 David Elazar Street Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel Fax: +972 3 569 4526 Email: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak Ministry of Defence 37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya Tel Aviv 61909, Israel Fax: +972 3 69 16940 / 62757 Commander of the IDF in the West Bank, Major-General Avi Mizrahi GOC Central Command Military Post 01149 Battalion 877, Israel Defense Forces, Israel Fax: +972 2 530 5724Khader Adnan's original appeal hearing took place on 9 February in a room at Zif Medical Center in Safad where Khader was hospitalized due to his medical condition as resulting from his ongoing hunger strike. In disregard to his medical condition the Court of Appeals delayed its decision until 13 February 2012, which marked Khader's 58th day of his ongoing hunger st[...]

Take Action to Support Historic Church Divestment Resolutions + More!


Dear friends,I just returned from an exhilarating National BDS Conference at the University of Pennsylvania this past weekend. Kicking off with a video of support from the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, hundreds of activists and academics gathered for two days of workshops, analysis, and entertainment, undeterred by a barrage of attacks by BDS opponents who attempted to smear organizers and speakers alike. Here is a press briefing that I did with keynote speaker Ali Abunimah, refuting the bogus charges. I just kept thinking of the old saying by Mahatma Gandhi:"First they ignore you.Then they laugh at you.Then they fight you.Then you win."So we've graduated! And we will win indeed!Here is something I wrote about some historic church votes coming up. I'm really excited about it and wanted to share it with you. (If you'd like to get these kinds of updates from me in my capacity as National Organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, sign up at -- in the right margin)…Did you know that 2012 is poised to be a landmark year for corporate accountability in the movement to end Israel's violations of Palestinian rights and international law?After many years of hard work by activists in both denominations, the global United Methodist Church (UMC) and the Presbyterian Church (USA) are voting over the next six months on resolutions to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett Packard due to their complicity in the Israeli occupation [documented here]. US Campaign member groups United Methodist Kairos Response and Israel-Palestine Mission Network are leading the way in building support for the UMC resolution and Presbyterian Committee on Mission Responsibility through Investment (MRTI)'s divestment recommendation, respectively.It is hard to overstate the significance of these campaigns. Passage of these resolutions would encourage other institutions and major churches to take action. It would also send Israel one of the strongest messages yet that its oppressive policies will no longer be tolerated.These are ambitious, winnable campaigns, but we need your help!No matter what Israel/Palestine campaigning you are focused on, we urge you to find a way to support these campaigns, since success will surely advance all other efforts in some way. Here is a list of things you can do.Challenge yourself to do at least 2 of the following...1. Endorse the United Methodist resolution! * Click here to endorse as an individual. * Click here to submit an organizational endorsement. * Click here to sign a petition if you participate in services provided by the UMC General Board of Pension & Health Benefits.2. Sign this letter supporting the divestment recommendation of the Presbyterian MRTI! You can sign as an individual or on behalf of an organization.3. Volunteer to help pass these resolutions! United Methodists and Presbyterians would be especially helpful, but really anyone can help. Any amount of support is appreciated. Please email organizer [at] if you are interested.This could be our turning point. Please join the Methodists, Presbyterians, and other people of conscience from around the country in supporting these campaigns today!With excitement and anticipation,AnnaPS. Here are a few exciting events coming up…1. I will be presenting at these two conferences:Friends of Sabeel - North America presents..."A Time for Justice: Supporting Human Rights in Palestine-Israel"Sacramento, CAMarch 16 & 17Click here for more information and to register. "Breaking the Barriers to a Just Peace in Israel/Palestine"Sunnyvale, CAMarch 23 & 24Click here for more information and to register. Presenters include...Salem Ajluni Consultant, UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near EastHuwaida Arraf Palestinian Activist, Lawyer, Founder, International Solidarity MovementMarc H. Ellis Professor of Jewish Studies & History, Baylor UniversityNoura Erakat Adjunct Assistant Professor,[...]

New Flash Mob Video & 2012 Delegation to Palestine!


Dear friends,I hope you have enjoyed some rest and time with loved ones as the year comes to a close. During Christmas shopping peak, I joined with friends for a…Wedding Flash Mob at Bed Bath & Beyond! -- Check out the video and please pass it on!(You will see I prioritized projecting the message over staying on tune :-).)Looking into 2012, I am excited about the growing global BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) campaigns and an upcoming trip to Palestine to reconnect with the heart of the struggle. Being in Palestine always grounds me in why we all do this work -- why it must succeed and why it absolutely will succeed.Want to join me? I am co-leading another delegation with the Interfaith Peace-Builders in May 2012 -- my third year in a row! (Last year, many of you donated to the St Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee to help us send my colleague and friend Colleen Kelly to Palestine. Your generosity meant so much to both of us. You can read Colleen, my, and another of our colleague's dispatches from Palestine at .)If you're interested, below is some information on the trip, as well as information about youth scholarships.***(Preface: I send this out with consciousness that travel to Palestine is not an option for everyone, especially for Palestinian-Americans who are routinely banned by Israel's practices of denying them entry. May these delegations no longer be necessary someday when Palestinians have the access to visit or live in their homeland that is their right.)May 2012 Delegation to Palestine/Israel An Environment Under Siege: Occupation's Effect on People and NatureMay 19 - June 1, 2012 Delegation Leaders: Anna Baltzer & Philip Farah This delegation will explore current realities of life for Israelis and Palestinians, including settlements, the occupation, and the peace process—by learning directly from those living there. We will also explore issues pertaining to the intersection of environmental justice and human rights, delving into the ways in which the occupation has affected the environment and therefore the livelihood of Palestinians and Israelis. Topics may include freedom of access to land and water, sanitation and pollution, and deforestation. The itinerary will feature meetings with leaders of civil society groups, grassroots organizers, religious leaders, organizations with projects focused on the environment and more. Join the Email List for This Delegation: DEADLINE TO APPLY: Please apply by February 10, 2012 to ensure we'll have space and be able to arrange your flight. Our last several delegations have filled up several months before departure, so please apply as soon as possible to reserve your space. If you've missed the deadline, we might still be able to add you, but please contact us ASAP to see if this is a possibility. Download Application for the Delegation here: Leaders: Philip Farah is a Palestinian born in Jerusalem, four years after his family lost their home in the 1948 War—the Nakba. Upon graduating from the American University of Beirut in 1968, he returned to occupied East Jerusalem and taught at several schools as well as Birzeit University in the West Bank. Before emigrating to the US in 1978, he was active in the first Palestinian-Israeli dialogue group opposed to the occupation. He is currently Vice President of the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace. He lives with his wife and three children in the Washington Metro area where he works as an economist.Anna Baltzer is an award-winning speaker, writer, and organizer for Palestinian rights. Since she began volunteering with the International Women's Peace Service, documenting human rights abuses and supporting Palestinian-led nonviolent resistance. Anna has appeared on television more than 100 times and lectured at more than 400 [...]

Exciting Events & Conferences Coming Up!


Dear friends, Long time no talk/type! As national organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, I now send most of my updates out on that email list. If you're not already on it, please subscribe by clicking here. (And you can click here for an action alert that I sent out yesterday.) Below you'll find information about the following events I'll be a part of for the next few months: Sept 16-19: National Organizers Conference, Washington, DC Oct 2: Receiving AFSC's Inspiration of Hope Award with ALICE WALKER, Chicago Nov 11-13: Friends of Sabeel - North America Conference, Atlanta Nov 25-27: American Muslims for Palestine Annual Conference, Chicago ********************** The US Campaign's 10th Annual National Organizers conference is coming up September 16 - 19 in Washington, DC! From California to Wisconsin to Hawaii, activists and representatives of member groups from around the country are joining us for this special event. The conference will be held at the historic Thurgood Marshall Center featuring a fantastic lineup of presenters, including: Omar Barghouti, founding member of the Palestinian civil society call for BDS Dalit Baum, founder of the Israeli research group Who Profits From the Occupation Rami Khouri, whose writing has informed public opinion throughout Europe, the Americas, and the Arab World Cindy Corrie of the Rachel Corrie Foundation Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies Simon Shaheen, internationally renowned violinist and `oud player … and wonderful speakers from American Muslims for Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, Codepink, American Friends Service Committee, Students for Justice in Palestine, and more! Early registration ends this Friday… Register now at a discount! Click here for more information. ********************** I am extremely honored to be receiving the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Inspiration for Hope Award in October, along with the amazing Alice Walker (who will hopefully be there). It will be at the AFSC Middle East Program's Annual Benefit, "Creating Connections, Renewing Commitments," open to all. Please save the date and join us on Sunday, October 2nd. Alice Walker is a renowned author, poet and activist. In 1983, she became the first African-American woman to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel The Color Purple. She is author of more than thirty books, including her latest, Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters the Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Palestine-Israel. Recently, she joined an international flotilla of boats sailing to Gaza to challenge the Israeli blockade. The third award recipient will be Palestinian-American student activist Sami Kishawi, the third award recipient. There is limited seating, so please reserve your tickets today! AFSC Middle East Program Annual Benefit WHEN: Sunday, October 2, 1 - 4pm WHERE: Columbus Park Refectory; 5701 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL TICKETS: $50 - General Admission; $25 - Students Please RSVP by September 20th to Miryam Rashid at mrashid [at] or [three][one][two]-427-2533 x18 to reserve tickets. (Checks can be made out to AFSC - Middle East Program and mailed to: American Friends Service Committee; Miryam Rashid; 637 S. Dearborn, 3rd Floor; Chicago, IL 60605.) ********************** I will be speaking at the upcoming Friends of Sabeel - North America Conference entitled: "From Birmingham to Bethlehem: Jesus' Third Way of Nonviolence in Israel/Palestine" November 10th-12th, Atlanta, GA Details will be posted here. ********************** Finally, I will be speaking at the American Muslims for Palestine Annual Conference Thanksgiving Weekend (but I won't be speaking on Turkey Day itself!) in Chicago. Click here for lots of info about lodging, speakers, etc. ********************** Hope to see you soon at one of these events. Thanks for reading! Yours, Anna PS. If we are[...]

Why I Am Fasting Today


Shane Bauer & Josh Fattal, who have been held in Iranian detention for almost 2 years

Today, I am fasting in solidarity with my friends Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer, and Josh Fattal, who were arrested and imprisoned in Iran almost two years ago. Sarah was freed last year, but Shane and Josh continue to suffer in Evin Prison, separated from their families and loved ones. Shane and Josh have gone on numerous hunger strikes in an effort to receive communications from their families, giving up the little food and comfort they have. It is likely they went on a hunger fast after their trial was postponed last month. I am fasting to remember and shed light on Shane’s and Josh’s plight, with hopes that they will soon be freed to come home to their families, who miss them terribly.

I have just returned from Palestine, where I met with Palestinian men, women, and children unjustly imprisoned for struggling nonviolently for freedom and equality. When I met them two years ago in Syria, Sarah and Shane were also working tirelessly for a better world, a dream I know they share with Josh. All those who support peace and self-determination for all people should keep Shane and Josh in their hearts and minds. Their struggle is our struggle.

For more information about Shane, Josh, and their fight for freedom, visit

For more information on the fast, click here.

A Request from Anna, and Opportunities to Support/Visit Palestine...


Dear friends,I have an announcement and a request.First, the announcement: I will be co-leading a delegation to Palestine next month with Interfaith Peace-Builders! My co-leaders will be the fabulous Adam Horowitz (co-editor of Mondoweiss) and our Palestinian host on the ground, Said. The dates are May 21st – June 3rd, and there are still a few spots open! I've pasted the details below and encourage people to apply.My request:One of the delegates will be a dear friend of mine named Colleen. Colleen is one of the co-founders of our local group, the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee (STL-PSC). She works tirelessly for the group and the cause, dozens of hours a week, but she has never been to Palestine because she cannot afford to go. Colleen is committed to trying to live a life of intentional poverty, in solidarity with those unable to live the lives of privilege that most of us do (and that Colleen could if she so chose). She also chooses poverty so that she is not in a position of having to pay taxes that support US-sponsored wars and the occupation of Palestine. She divides the majority of her time between working for the St Louis Palestine Solidarity committee, the local antiwar coalition "Instead of War," and Karenhouse where she lives, which is a volunteer-run Catholic Worker house that provides hospitality to homeless women and children.Colleen is conflicted between her deep desire to visit Palestine and living a modest life. I and others at STL-PSC have encouraged her to go to Palestine because it is a dream of hers, and I know it will ground and strengthen her continuous local work here at home for justice in Palestine.STL-PSC would like to send Colleen to Palestine but to do so we need to raise money. I don't know that I have ever sent a request for donations in the 5 years that I have had this list, but I would be grateful if people would consider contributing to STL-PSC to help us send Colleen to Palestine. If you are moved to do so, here is how you can: * Tax-deductible: Send checks made out to "Instead of War" with "PSC – Travel" in the memo field to: Anna Baltzer; P.O. Box 2687; St Louis, MO 63116. * Donate by PayPal or credit card by clicking the "Donate" button on my donations page. (Note: This is not tax-deductible but I will forward all donations this month to STL-PSC.) * To make a tax-deductible donation online, email me at for directions and I'll send you the steps. The total needed for all her expenses is around $4,000 (airfare, delegation, food, and a week after the delegation traveling/working on the ground with me).If the funds are raised, I will put an announcement on my donations page and return any checks received, unless you indicate that you would still like it to go to support STL-PSC's work—which is always very, very appreciated!Thank you in advance for those of you who can contribute (and I understand that it's not an option for everyone). Here's the delegation announcement…- - - Please Forward - - -May Delegation ~ only a few spots left!Voices of the PeacemakersMay 21 – June 3, 2011This delegation will explore Palestinian and Israeli efforts to achieve peace and a resolution to their conflict based on justice. The delegation will feature meetings with Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers – leaders of civil society groups, grassroots organizers, religious leaders and more. IFPB's May-June delegation also traditionally focuses on the annual commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) and the founding of the State of Israel.Leaders: Anna Baltzer & Adam Horowitz will be leading this delegation. Anna has just returned from a European tour and continues her important work as National Organizer at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Adam continues his work through Mondoweiss and has also been on the road, presenting his co-edited book[...]

ACTION ALERT and More on Cultural Boycott of Israel


Dear friends,I regret that I've written so little while there is so much going on! (I send out information more frequently on my public Facebook page, if you want to "friend/like" me.) I hope people are doing well. Happy New Year to all. This weekend's release by Al Jazeera and The Guardian of the Palestine Papers have exposed the utter futility of US-brokered peace talks. I am more convinced than ever that the solution lies with listening to the Palestinian people themselves, civil society, and their call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) on Israel until it complies with international law and respects Palestinians' human rights.Below is a variation of a piece/action alert on cultural boycott that I recently sent out on the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation listserv (you can sign up here) in my new capacity as national organizer…But first, a few invitations/appeals:1. Interfaith Peace-Builders and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation invite you to a Grassroots Advocacy Training and Lobby Day March 6th – 7th in Washington, DC. Additionally, there will be a Campus Organizing Conference Marcy 5th. For more information or to register, click here. 2. Tomorrow is the nation-wide Day of Action to Stop FBI Repression. Since September, 23 antiwar activists have been subpoenaed by the FBI, many of them involved in Palestine solidarity work. Nine of the activists were called to appear at a grand jury tomorrow, so activists will be protesting at federal buildings, FBI offices and other locations around the country in solidarity. Click here to find actions near you!3. I have a close friend in Palestine who needs help. Due to family issues, she feels she has no choice but to leave Palestine, even though it's the hardest decision she's ever had to make. She is an incredible activist and would be a major asset to any campus or community (she's open to coming to study or to work). Contact me if you think there's a university or employer that might be able to help. Action Alert & More on Cultural Boycott…One of the strongest tools of pressure to end South African Apartheid was the refusal of performance artists and other cultural ambassadors to play in the apartheid state. Diverse South Africans of conscience joined with supporters around the world in imploring performers and other public figures not to visit South Africa because to do so would send a public statement of normalization with the apartheid state, thereby implicitly condoning its policies.Inspired by this example, Israelis of conscience and supporters around the world have joined Palestinians in calling for a similar cultural boycott of Israel until it ends its occupation and discriminatory apartheid policies.To perform in an apartheid state is wrong, especially considering that those living under apartheid are often blocked from attending performances by checkpoints, discriminatory permit systems and persistent military and police brutality. In addition, Palestinian artists have been punished for decades. Musical groups have been prevented from performing abroad, they've been arrested based on song lyrics, and they continue to suffer daily under military occupation.Many artists have responded and cancelled appearances in Israel, including Carlos Santana, Gil Scott Heron, Elvis Costello, the Pixies, Devendra Banhart, the Tindersticks, Meg Ryan, and Dustin Hoffman. These cancelations, along with other boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) victories, send a message that there will be no "business as usual" with an apartheid state; they have caused unprecedented concern amongst Israelis about the growing cost of occupation and apartheid. This is a Palestinian-led nonviolent means of pressure that can work and there's an exciting opportunity to strengthen it right now!Earlier this week, American R&B/soul singer-so[...]

Voices for Justice Under Threat from All Sides! Breaking News and Action Alerts


Dear friends,I'm writing to you for the first time as part-time national organizer for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation! I'm excited about the road ahead and helping to build the movement for justice in Palestine through our coalition of more than 325 peace and justice groups around the country. If you aren't already a member (as a group or individual), you should join!Alternative voices on this issue are being silenced more and more every day. In particular, I want to tell you about three recent incidents and ongoing struggles to get the message out, and what you can do about it! *********** Please distribute widely! *********** ~ FLASH MOB VIDEO SHUT-DOWN ~ Earlier this month, about forty members and friends of our St Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee (STL-PSC) got down to a parody of Lady Gaga & Beyoncé's song "Telephone" in a BDS Flash Mob at Best Buy and AT&T stores, urging holiday shoppers to boycott Israeli apartheid and hang up on Motorola. The action was covered in media around the world and video received more than 35,000 hits on YouTube in less than a week! Shortly after the count hit 35,000, the video was removed on an apparent claim of copyright infringement by Warner Music Group (WMG). The STL-PSC is firmly convinced, as advised by legal representation, that our video does not infringe copyright, because it constitutes a "fair use" of the song and parodies of songs are protected under a US Supreme Court decision in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose. Furthermore, the song copyright appears to be owned by a subsidiary of UMG Recordings, not WMG at all. The WMG seemingly has no claim to the song; on the other hand, WMG's relationship with Motorola is well known.STL-PSC believes that this is an infringement on freedom of expression and plans to challenge the take-down. There are more than 1,000 Lady Gaga flash mob videos on YouTube, many using the same song with far more hits. None of them have been shut down by WMG. Why was this video selected? What does WMG not want the world to know about its partner Motorola?The targeting of our video by Motorola's partner tells me that our action made Motorola and/or its partners uncomfortable… which means we're doing something right! Motorola should feel uncomfortable for complicity in war crimes, and now more than ever we need to keep the pressure on!Don't let Motorola and WMG silence people of conscience! Tens of thousands of you saw the video and circulated it. My request: IF YOU HAVEN'T SENT IT TO PEOPLE WHO SHOULD SEE IT, PLEASE CONSIDER DOING SO NOW! As we've seen, this is exactly what Motorola and WMG don't want.If you haven't seen the video yet… take a look! It's less than 4 minutes long and really fun.It was reposted here:, CLICK HERE to quickly send a letter to Motorola management and sign a pledge. If you're unaware of the campaign to boycott Motorola, our video explains the company's complicity in Israeli occupation and war crimes.By the way, we were inspired in part by an excellent flash mob in a Philadelphia local grocer using the same Lady Gaga song (it hasn't been shut down). The group, Philly BDS, is calling for a boycott of Sabra and Tribe hummus, which subsidize Israel's human rights abuses. ~ FBI REPRESSION AGAINST PALESTINE SOLIDARITY ACTIVISTS ~ Yesterday morning, the FBI delivered subpoenas to another four anti-war activists involved in Palestine solidarity work. This brings the count to 23 in less than three months since coordinated FBI raids in Minneapolis and Chicago targeted an initial 14 activists in late September. Their computers, passports, documents, family photos, and even children's artwork were taken away.The people targeted are well-known and beloved organizers and outspoken commentators around the country. It is critical that we protest this attempt t[...]

Great Resources! New Interview…


Dear friends, Here are three fantastic resources that everyone in the movement should check out and take advantage of! Below them is an invitation to an important fundraiser for Rep. Donna Edwards, who has come under harsh criticism for speaking out against Israel's attacks on Gaza and for even attending the fundraiser sponsored by the pro-justice PAC, New Policy.Finally, at the end, you'll find an interview I did published on PULSE and Huffington Post. See below…EXCELLENT NEW RESOURCES 1. "Is Israel an Apartheid State?" is a highly recommended booklet summarizing a legal study by the South African Human Sciences Research Center. It systematically outlines criteria of the crime of Apartheid and analyzes Israeli laws in the West Bank and Gaza as they relate to it (it acknowledges its limitations of not having pursued the same analysis of Israeli laws towards Palestinians within Israel). This is an illuminating (I learned a lot!) and energizing tool for organizing. You can view the PDF here but purchasing paper copies here puts it in a much more reader-friendly format. If you email me back with your address I will send you a free printed copy. 2. There's a great new website and billboard campaign by the Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine. It launched in Chicago on Oct 4th with billboards on the city's mass transit system that read "End U.S. Military Aid to Israel." The campaign website,, is full of well-documented information and talking points. I consider myself well-versed and I was taking lots of notes! Take a look...There are lots of photos and updates on the campaign's Facebook page. 3. A comprehensive list of global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) actions in recent history can be found here—88 pages worth! The list has doubled since the Flotilla attacks. Listed are BDS actions by governments, unions, churches, universities, artists, Israelis, and more. It includes the exciting action in Oakland, California where dock-workers refused to cross a picket line to unload Israeli cargo. Read article here. **************** NEW POLICY FUNDRAISER FOR DONNA EDWARDS Rep. Donna Edwards was one of 25 members of Congress to vote against HR 34, a resolution defending Israel's Winter `08-`09 attacks on Gaza that left 1,400 Palestinians dead (most of them civilians). She also voted against HR 867, a resolution to dismiss the UN-commissioned Goldstone Report. She has co-signed a letter highlighting the devastating effects of Israel's blockade, and has even visited Gaza herself. Needless to say, Edwards has come under increasing criticism from the Washington Jewish Week and pro-Israel lobbies, including J Street, for her work and for agreeing to attend an event hosted by New Policy PAC, which supports a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In light of the increasing criticism, New Policy has decided to extend an open invitation to all to attend the reception on Saturday, October 16 at 1pm, held at the Sheraton North Hotel in Washington, DC. Please note there are no minimum contribution requirements for the invitation. Come and bring friends and family. Show your support for an open debate of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the United States. RSVP to Make a contribution to Edwards' campaign or send a check to New Policy PAC at PO Box 73526, Washington, DC 20056.Click here for more info on New Policy PAC and Donna Edwards Fundraiser. **************** INTERVIEWPrior to my visit to the area, Christian Avard of Vermont's Deerfield Valley News and conducted the following interview with me. It was published on PULSE! (full version) and the Huffington Post (abridged version).The full interview is pasted below…Anna Baltzer: Palestinians "come second"[...]

Announcements & New Article, "Indigenous Resistance: from Colombia to Palestine


Dear friends,I'm so sorry I've been out of touch for so long! I have so much to share with you all.My most recent article is below the following announcements. It's called "Indigenous resistance: from Colombia to Palestine," the first in a series reflecting on my summer trip to Colombia with a delegation on indigenous movements and human rights.But first, 5 announcements!…1. Opportunities to go to Palestine: * January delegation to Palestine (with two amazing friends of mine facilitating!) through Americans Jews for a Just Peace (open to non-Jews of course). Applications due soon—Oct 1st! Applications submitted later will be considered only if there is still room. More info here. * November Olive Harvest delegation to Palestine with Interfaith Peace-Builders (people from all backgrounds, religious or not, are welcome to apply). Partiicpating in the harvest is a wonderful way to learn about Palestinians and Palestine. More info here. Delegations next year are listed here.2. UN Flotilla Investigation finds Israel guilty of violating international law, "brutal and disproportionate" violence, and "willful killing." Full report here. 3. Plans for a US Boat to Gaza are in full force. Donations are desperately needed! Please visit to learn more and contribute.4. The One Nation March is a huge action in Washington DC coming up on October 2nd. Learn more. The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has materials for the protests and support for organizing your own community to attend this historic march and protest US $30 billion in military aid to Israel.5. Finally, I will be touring internationally October 18th – November 23rd! Stops in: * AUSTRALIA: Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, and elsewhere * NEW ZEALAND: Wellington and Aukland * JAPAN: Tokyo, Gumna, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, and elsewhereThe Australia tour will end at the first National Australian BDS Conference in Melbourne! View Speakers, Conference Agenda, and more here.Check my online schedule for updates on the above and other upcoming events. As promised, here's my most recent article, originally published on Electronic Intifada…************ Available for re-publication ************Indigenous resistance: from Colombia to PalestineBy Anna Baltzer(Click here for corresponding photographs.) "They only see our water, our land, our trees. They don't care about us. They want the land -- without the people on it."These words are not of a Palestinian farmer but of Justo Conda, governor of Lopez Adentro Indigenous Reserve in southwestern Colombia, whose community was repeatedly threatened with displacement under former president Alvaro Uribe Velez. Uribe, recently appointed by the United Nations to investigate Israel's fatal attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, has a notoriously horrific track record on human rights. Less explored are the clear parallels between his government's mistreatment of indigenous peoples of Colombia and Israel's abuses of the indigenous people of Palestine.According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Colombia has one of the largest populations of internally displaced people in the world, numbering as many as 4.9 million. According to the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement more than 286,000 Colombians were uprooted from their land in 2009 alone. Approximately ten percent of the Colombian population has suffered forced displacement, many of them indigenous communities, afro-Colombian descendants of former slaves, and campesinos (farmers).Like Israel, Colombia is the largest recipient of US military aid in its hemisphere. Six billion US tax-dollars over the past ten years have placed Colombia third in the world for US military assistance, aft[...]

Lara Tries To Go Home


Our delegation arrived safely in Palestine a couple weeks ago. We exited our plane at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport, built on part of a Palestinian town of Lyd, most of whose inhabitants either fled in 1948 during the Nakba and remain in refugee camps in Amman, Jordan or Ramallah, West Bank living under deplorable conditions, or they live as second-, third-, or fourth-class citizens in what remains of town, now part of Israel. The removal of 17,948 of Lyd's population of 19,000 in 1948 was led by former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, hailed as a peacenik by those unfamiliar with his history of brutality that continued through the First Intifada (during which Rabin implemented a policy of breaking the arms and legs of any Palestinian who threw a stone at an Israeli tank, jeep, etc.) and beyond. Rabin wrote the following in his own diary shortly after 1948 attacks driving out almost 95% of Lyd's non-Jewish population: "After attacking Lydda [Lyd] Ben-Gurion would repeat the question: What is to be done with the population?, waving his hand in a gesture which said: Drive them out!. 'Driving out' is a term with a harsh ring, .... Psychologically, this was one of the most difficult actions we undertook." (Soldier Of Peace, p. 140-141 & Benny Morris, p. 207)His guilt and psychological struggle didn't prevent him from giving orders to do the same to neighboring villages ('Imwas, Yalu, and Bayt Nuba) 19 years later. The struggle of remaining inhabitants of Lyd (now citizens of Israel) for recognition as equal human beings and their isolation from their fellow Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza, and the Diaspora is documented beautifully in one of my favorite documentaries about Palestine: Slingshot Hip Hop, documenting the rising Palestinian hip-hop movement as resistance to oppression through the spoken word.Anyway, arriving at Israel 's airport, named after Ben-Gurion himself, our delegates waited anxiously in line for passport control, hoping we would not targeted given our desire to meet with Palestinians. Israel recently denied entry to Noam Chomsky, who was on his way to give a talk at a Palestinian university, to name but one example. Those eventually interrogated from our group were no surprise—two Palestinian delegates, simply trying to visit their homeland.They each told us their stories that night, but I'll focus on the story of just one: Lara.Lara stood in line next to a large group of young Jewish Americans talking excitedly about coming on vacation to Israel . They were breezed through with a smiling, "Welcome to Israel ." When Lara reached passport control, they didn't bother asking her any questions. Her name was enough. Security escorted her to another room where she was held for over an hour. First, they asked for her phone number in the United States . She gave it to them… What will they do with it? They asked where her parents were born. " Gaza ," she answered. That was all the questioner needed to know. "You will have to visit the Ministry of Interior," he said, and took her into a third room."What is your father's name?" Lara answered. "I know," he replied."What is your mother's name?" Lara answered. "I know," he replied again."What is your father's mother's name?" "What is your mother's father's name?" "What is your mother's mother's name?" She answered each question and with each he replied, "I know."When the interrogator asked, "What is your father's father's name?" Lara replied that she actually didn't know because he died long before she was born. But he knew, and before her eyes he sketched out the family tree of her own family, most of them uprooted from their homes by the Israeli Army. He said "Your grandfather' s name is Sayyid. And your father's name is no[...]

The Aftermath of the Flotilla


Last night marked one week since Israel's attack in international waters on the Mavi Marmara Turkish humanitarian ship bound for Gaza, killing nine. One by one, the hundreds of witnesses aboard the vessels have been returning home to tell their stories after being stripped of any and all footage. By confiscating all non-military evidence of the incident, Israel has been able to successfully dominate the narrative, at least in the US where news of the attack had begun to dwindle by the time witnesses were released. One wonders, if Israel is conveying the whole story of what happened that night, why eliminate every single other piece of documentation? What does Israel have to hide?According to hundreds of eyewitnesses, the Navy shot at the boat and threw tear gas and sound bombs before boarding the ship, and then hit the ground shooting. The videos released by Israel show those aboard the ship attacking soldiers with sticks. Israel claims that the deaths were an accident, that the soldiers were startled by the sticks and thus forced to shoot people to defend themselves.Now let's put things into perspective. In 2005, the Israeli Army removed 8,000 ideological settlers from Gaza, many of them kicking and screaming with sticks and rocks in hand. The Army managed not to kill or even shoot a single one of them. Do sticks from Turks hurt more, or is it not about the sticks at all?As Dr. Norman Finkelstein pointed out, Israeli officials met for an entire week prior to the flotilla to plan precisely what they intended to do. The Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren himself stated that the Mavi Marmara was simply "too large to stop with nonviolent means." It's hard to believe that this was an accident.While the world focuses on the flotilla and Gaza, Israel's restrictions on Palestinian rights in the rest of Palestine continue to tighten. On Friday, soldiers surrounded the Old City in Jerusalem to prevent Muslim men from praying at Al-Aqsa mosque. Only those younger than 15 or older than 40 were allowed through. Hundreds of men gathered outside the metal bars installed by the Army around the city gates. Frustrated, many men sat down to wait to pray on the sidewalk, but soldiers on horseback pushed through the crowd, forcing the men to scatter.It's important to note that many Palestinians wait for years to receive a permit to visit Jerusalem for just one day. Sometimes the permits are valid only for a few hours. I saw a woman in Beit Sahour whom I'd met in Syracuse last Fall. She said it's easier for her to travel to New York than to go 10 miles away to Jerusalem. She said often permits are sent to the wrong village and families fall over themselves to get the permit to the right person in time, often failing. At the gates, some men argued with the soldiers, close to tears, not knowing if they would ever get another chance to realize a life-long dream of praying at their country's holiest site.Eventually, hundreds of men began to gather next to the wall of the Old City and across the street. If they could not enter, they would pray as close as they could. As the call to prayer rang out (at least sound can overcome walls), a noticeable calm came over the space as they bowed down in unison. The soldiers stood over the group, some filming with cameras. In the middle of the group were an olive tree and a young child who stood by himself, watching.When the prayers ended, those who hadn't brought prayer mats wiped the dirt off their foreheads and gathered with others across the street where an imam had started to speak. Lara, a Palestinian delegate in our group translated bits and pieces of what he said.The sermon was about the importance of compassion and justice in Islam. There they [...]

A People United Will Not Fall


As I'm sure you've heard, less than 60 hours ago at least 9 people carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza on a six-ship flotilla were killed by the Israeli army when it attacked one of the ships. Dozens were badly injured. The ships were in international waters and had stopped overnight, expecting to continue transporting more than 10,000 tons of aid to Gaza the next morning. Most of those killed and injured were Turkish.I am chilled knowing that I was meant to be on the Mavi Marmara boat had I not already committed to this delegation, and I wonder if I could have been as brave as the others on board. I feel a great kinship with Turkish Palestine solidarity activists with whom I worked during my years living in Ankara and although I am no nationalist, I was proud to carry a Turkish flag today.We here in Palestine are stunned, not by Israel's immorality (Israel has committed far worse crimes), but by its arrogance. Israel assumes it can kill anyone it wants anywhere it wants with impunity. Israel is wrong. And this, like the 2008-2009 War on Gaza (Operation Cast Lead), should be a turning point in international opinion and, more importantly, international action.Nine hours after the night-time killings, we went to Ramallah and joined with a crowd of hundreds demonstrating (see photos here) in solidarity with their Turkish brothers and sisters who fell for freedom in Gaza. It was a moving scene as people locked their stores to take to the streets waving Turkish flags alongside Palestinian ones, chanting that the profound sacrifice of these martyrs for them would never be forgotten. The crowd's enthusiasm never wavered as it moved through the bustling city of Ramallah, eventually ending at a Turkish International Center.One of our delegates speaks Hebrew and happened to be at the end of the crowd when she recognized Israeli News Channel 2 cameras setting up pointed away from the crowd (I didn't think Israeli TV went into Ramallah but she's lived in Israel and was 100% sure of what she saw). She translated to us the words spoken in Hebrew by the reporter: "Here in Ramallah, life is going on as usual. People here seem apathetic to what happened at sea, showing that it's really not that big of a deal."In Ramallah we heard news of a similar protest near Qalandia checkpoint where an American young woman named Emily lost her left eye when she was shot in the face with a tear-gas canister. The story felt all the more real when we met that night with representatives from the popular committee of the nearby village of Ni'lin where a young man from California named Tristan Anderson was shot in the head with a tear gas canister at a peaceful demonstration. For a long time it was assumed he would be brain-dead for life, but it seems he's making progress and has finally begun to speak.Our meeting was held in Bil'in, where we spent the evening with one of the leaders of the popular committee on resistance in the small village that has lost more than half of its land to the Wall. The last time I was at a demonstration in Bil'in, we were hosed with water cannons. Now I learn that the Army has started hosing people with chemicals or pepper spray in the water, stuff that won't rub off and smells terrible.Since my last visit, Bassem Abu-Rahme, a warm and energetic friend to many who have marched in Bil'in, died from being shot in the heart with a tear gas canister as he yelled at soldiers that his Israeli activist friend was hurt. We watched a movie about Bassem and I remembered how enthusiastic and glowing he was. No more, although his memory lives on through pictures on every family's wall, and in the minds of the thousands who have come from around the world to confron[...]

Why You Should Care about the Hikers Held in Iran...


Dear friends,Nine and a half months ago, two of my friends, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd, were arrested along with their friend Josh Fattal while hiking near the Iranian border with Iraqi Kurdistan.You probably heard about the hikers in the news, but most people don't know much about them personally. They are incredible people I spent a lot of time with while living in Damascus, Syria last year. Shane was doing photo-journalism around the Middle East. Sarah was working without pay for the Iraqi Student Project, teaching English to Iraqi students whose education was interrupted by the war and occupation and helping secure scholarships and spots for them at US universities. She invited me to give a presentation on Palestine to her students, which I happily did. The presentation was enhanced by memorably insightful comments by Sarah that demonstrated clearly her wisdom and experience in movements for social justice and creating a better world for everyone. The last time I saw Sarah and Shane was at a pot-luck they threw shortly before I left.I was going to write an article about my friends but the article below really says it all. The three hikers' families had asked us not to write anything related to politics about them until now.Thanks for reading,Anna------------ --------- --------- --------- ----Why You Should Care about the Three Americans Held in Iran by Scott Campbell Watching the news in August 2009, you may have heard about three U.S. citizens being detained in Iran. Arrested for allegedly crossing the Iran-Iraq border on July 31, 2009, they remain in detention nine months later in Iran's Evin prison. Dubbed "the hikers" due to the fact that they were on a hiking trip in the Kurdish region of Iraq when they were detained, in their nine months of imprisonment Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer, and Josh Fattal have had only three visits from Swiss consular officials, have been permitted only one brief phone call to their families, and have been denied access to their Iranian lawyer. Their mothers applied for Iranian visas more than four months ago and have received no response. Though Iranian officials occasionally sputter about "espionage," the only charge they face is "illegal border crossing," punishment for which is a fine, not indefinite detention.All of this is outrageous enough, but the picture is even bleaker. Thursday, April 22, was the most recent visit to the hikers by the Swiss -- the first since October. Sarah -- who is in solitary confinement -- told them she is suffering from depression and a severe gynecological condition. Shane, originally also held in solitary but now sharing a cell with Josh, told them he is enduring a stomach ailment. The three of them are considering beginning a hunger strike, despite their poor health and isolation.The three have lamentably become political pawns in the U.S.-Iranian staring contest. The fact is, despite the West's belligerence towards Iran, these three individuals demand our support and solidarity. Though they were simply on a hike, they are much more than hikers -- they are individuals dedicated to working for a better, more just, and more sustainable world. They are comrades, fellow travelers, activists, organizers, whatever you may want to call them.It is pertinent to mention that Sarah and Shane are good friends whom I've known for several years. I first met Sarah in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2005 when we organized locally to support immigrant rights and participate in the historic May Day marches of 2006 and sent groups down to the border with Mexico to confront nativist vigilantes like the Minutemen. She and Shane lived in a house in Oakland th[...]

3 Jewish Initiatives to Support BDS & the Movement...


Dear friends,A lot has been happening over the past few weeks, particularly within the global movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). It may not feel like much if I'm the only list you're on, but there are new campaigns and votes all the time (and if you want notification of them, you can join the BDS email list). The most recent vote at UC San Diego last Wednesday was sent to committee. You can read the resolution, sign the petition, and/or send a letter of support.I want to tell you about three initiatives—a statement, a book, and an assembly—by Jewish Americans supporting BDS. Here they are, in order…************I. BREAKING THE LAW OF RETURNBelow is a statement I worked on with Hannah Mermelstein, Nava Etshalom, and Amy Kaplan and an accompanying video. I invite others to read, watch, sign, and/or support the initiative. It speaks for itself…Recommended: Click here to Watch the Video!---We are Jews from the United States, who, like Jewish people throughout the world, have an automatic right to Israeli citizenship under Israel's "law of return."Today there are more than seven million Palestinian refugees around the world. Israel denies their right to return to their homes and land—a right recognized and undisputed by UN Resolution 194, the Geneva Convention, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Meanwhile, we are invited to live on that same land simply because we are Jewish.We renounce this "right" to "return" offered to us by Israeli law. It is not right that we may "return" to a state that is not ours while Palestinians are excluded and continuously dispossessed.In 1947-49, Zionist militias destroyed more than 500 Palestinian villages and made more than 800,000 Palestinian people refugees in order to create a Jewish state on land where the majority was not Jewish. It is Palestinians who have the right to return to their own land. Now in Gaza, where more than three quarters of the people are refugees, the State of Israel not only denies the population its right of return, but also incarcerates the entire Gaza Strip under illegal and inhumane siege conditions.We reject the notion that Israel is a "safe haven" from anti-Semitism for Jews. No one is truly safe when the price of that "security" is oppression, inequality, and occupation of another people.Today there is a growing transnational movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, called for by Palestinian civil society and supported by activists, artists, and academics around the world, including an increasing number of conscientious Israelis. As part of this campaign, we pledge to boycott the "law of return." As an act of political and ideological divestment, we repudiate the claims the State of Israel makes on us as potential citizens.We protest Israel's colonial policies and discriminatory laws toward the Palestinian people, as well as the U.S. government's political and financial support of these policies.We hereby renounce Israel's "law of return" and refuse to lend the state our support, resources, or passports.---1. If you are a U.S. Jew, you can add your name to the signatories (there are already hundreds!) by emailing breakingthelawofret urn@gmail. com with your name, city, and institutional/ organizational affiliations (optional).2. Join our Facebook group – all people who support this statement are welcome!************II. "SHIFTING SANDS"This is your last chance to pre-order at a discount the upcoming book, Shifting Sands: Jewish Women Confront the Israeli Occupation, which comes into print on Tuesday!I contributed a chapter, as did Hedy Epstein, Alice Rothchild, St[...]

Two Exciting (and Urgent) Things for Justice in Palestine


Dear friends, There are some very exciting things happening these days in the growing movement in the US for justice in Palestine. I get dozens of action alerts a week, but I'm forwarding to you only two, which I believe are very important—and urgent! [If any of the links below don't work, cut and paste into a new window and remove any spaces.] (1) The first is a crucial resolution at UC Berkeley that will be voted on TOMORROW (April 14th), so letters of support are needed ASAP! Here's what's happening: On March 18th, the Senate of the Associated Students of the University of California, Berkeley (ASUC) passed a bill in support of ASUC's divestment from two American companies, General Electric and United Technologies, for their material and military support for Israel's occupation in Palestine. The bill encouraged the University of California itself to make sure its $135 million in investments are no longer profiting off Israel's "war crimes." You can read the whole bill here: bill passed 16-4, but the President of the Senate tried to stop it with a veto. Tomorrow, the senate will have the chance to overturn the president's veto. Please use this link from Jewish Voice for Peace ( KEY=2747) to write to the senate (something short is fine) to encourage them to support the bill.South African anti-Apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Naomi Klein are among many who have written in support. Tutu's letter is here at and Naomi Klein's letter to the senators is below. Note: Even if you don't read Klein's letter, please don't miss the section following it… ------------ -------Dear members of the ASUC Senate,I am writing to urge you to reaffirm Senate Bill 118A, despite the recent presidential veto.It comes as no surprise that you are under intense pressure to reverse your historic and democratic decision to divest from two companies that profit from Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory. When a school with a deserved reputation for academic excellence and moral leadership takes such a bold position, it threatens to inspire others to take their own stands.Indeed, Berkeley—the campus and the wider community—has provided this kind of leadership on many key issues in the past: not only Apartheid in South Africa but also sweatshops in Indonesia, dictatorship in Burma, political killings in Nigeria, and the list goes on. Time and again, when the call for international solidarity has come from people denied a political voice, Berkeley has been among the first to answer. And in virtually every case, what began as a small action in a progressive community quickly spread across the country and around the world.Your recent divestment bill opposing Israeli war crimes stands to have this same kind of global impact, helping to build a grassroots, non-violent movement to end Israel's violations of international law. And this is precisely what your opponents—by spreading deliberate lies about your actions—are desperately trying to prevent. They are even going so far as to claim that, in the future, there should be no divestment campaigns that target a specific country, a move that would rob activists of one of the most effective tools in the non-violent arsenal. Please don't give into this pressure; too much is on the line.As the world has just witnessed with the Netanyahu government's refusal to st[...]

ACTION ALERTS! Muslim students threatened with expulsion, and more


Dear friends,There's been a lot going on lately. Here's just a sampling. I'll be sending my Spring Tour schedule very soon...MSU STUDENTS ARRESTED AT UCI:On Monday, eleven members of the Muslim Student Union at the University of California at Irvine were arrested after repeatedly interrupting a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren co-sponsored by the UCI Law School and Political Science Department. Following the disruption, the students were arrested and are now being threatened with punishment as severe as expulsion.Watch a short clip of the event at (skip to minute 10:25). Towards the end you'll see an angry man announcing to each one, "You are failing your exams." You can read why they chose to interrupt Mr. Oren here: The UCI Muslim Student Union is one of the most committed, organized, and inspiring groups I have ever worked with. They are true allies and they need our support now!Please write UCI Chancellor Michael Drake ( and the Dean of Students (, who will be determining the punishment. Here are some important points to bring up: * It is unjust to threaten to expel students for having the courage to stand up and speak out against a man responsible for propagating the deaths of thousands of innocent people. * Civil disobedience has historically played an instrumental role in the civil rights movement in America that fought for equality and human rights for all minorities. * Michael Oren is a representative of a state that is condemned by more UN Human Rights Council resolutions than all other countries in the world, and he should not be honored at UC Irvine. * As concerned community members, we will not support an educational institution that threatens to punish its students with suspension and expulsion for standing up for their principles.You can also join their Facebook group, Drop All Charges Against the Eleven ( --------- --NYT REPORTER TIES TO ISRAELI MILITARY:In other news, in case you haven't heard, The New York Times has confirmed that the son of Ethan Bronner, their chief reporter on Israel/Palestine, is a soldier in the Israeli Army. The Times announced that it does not see any conflict of interest posed by the Jerusalem bureau chief's familial ties to the Israeli military. The Public Editor, representing readers, determined that Bronner having a son fighting for one side is cause for finding someone else to cover the region (, but the Times editors say they like Bronner's work and so they're keeping him.I would argue that nobody can remain neutral with their child on one side of crossfire. I would also argue that Bronner has not shown neutrality in the past. American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University Richard Falk co-authored an entire book on the subject (Israel-Palestine on Record: How the New York Times Misreports Conflict in the Middle East), an If Americans Knew study found the Times to be "Off the Charts" in misrepresenting the issue (, and Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has come to similar conclusions ( Times chose not to disclose Bronner's family ties to the Israeli Army until EI broke the story (, after which they were forced to.Consider writing the New York Times editors (, managing[...]

What To Buy & NOT Buy For Holiday Gifts, and More...


Dear friends, Three things in this post:(1) The Gaza Freedom March(2) Quick Petitions(3) Holiday Gifts to Buy & NOT to Buy (read that today!)I tried to make each one quick…Anna ************ *******Please distribute widely****** ********* ******** A week from Sunday will mark the one-year anniversary since the beginning of Israel's three-week attack on Gaza that left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead (in addition to 13 Israelis killed, 4 of those by other Israeli soldiers), more than 100,000 Palestinians homeless, and one third of all Gaza's agricultural land destroyed. Before, during, and since the attacks, Gazans have been deprived of adequate food, water, medical supplies, building supplies, heating, and other basic needs in a brutal siege that has reduced Gaza to an open-air prison. On December 31st, in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and all nonviolent resistance to injustice, more than a thousand delegates from 42 countries around the world will join an estimated 50,000 Gazans in a historical march to break the siege of Gaza. Participants will include Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, French Senator Alima Boumediene Thiery, Filipino Parliament member Walden Bello, former European Parliamentarians Luisa Morgantini (Italy) and Eva Quistorp (Germany), former U.S. diplomat Ann Wright, President of the U.S. Center for Constitutional Rights Attorney Michael Ratner, Japanese Ambassador Naoto Amaki, and 85-year-old Holocaust survivor and research analyst at the Nuremburg Trials, Hedy Epstein (who also challenged fellow survivor Elie Wiesel to break his silence on this issue and join her: Other marchers include doctors, lawyers, diplomats, rabbis, priests, imams, veterans, and Palestinians born overseas who have never seen their families in Gaza. And for those of us who can't make it to Gaza, there is much to be done! For all the information you could ever want about the March and how to show your support, visit There's a petition on the website to endorse the March. Here are another handful of petitions—the first three involve dear friends of mine. If you read quickly and sign each, it shouldn't take long at all: * Sign appeal on Jewish Voice for Peace's website that Obama demand that Israel free Bil'in nonviolence leader Abdallah Abu Rahme (who is a close personal friend of mine): * Open letter to Obama to free Boycott/Divestment/ Sanctions organizer and nonviolence advocate Mohammad Othman (also a friend of mine): * Two other friends of mine, Sarah Shourd & Shane Bauer, are being held in prison, not by Israel but by Iran, which is charging them for espionage. I know Sarah & Shane from Damascus and they are wonderful people, who it seems accidentally strayed into Iran while hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan. Please visit this website to sign a petition for their release, and you can also learn more about them: * Endorse the US Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel by writing after reading the mission statement at If you have questions about what an academic and cultural boycott entails, visit * The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) petition to "End Demolitions Now: A Settlement Freeze Would Not Be Enough" - * To keep appraised of [...]

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti & Anna Baltzer on the Daily Show, and more!


Dear all,I'm excited to tell you about three things below...1. Mustafa Barghouti & I will be on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart this Wednesday!2. 2009 National Campus Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions Conference at Hampshire College3. November Tour in the Northeast------------ -1. Dr. Mustafa Barghouti and I will be on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart this Wednesday, Oct 28th!Among many other things, Dr. Barghouti finished 2nd in the 2005 Palestinian presidential elections, and founded the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Workers (his bio is at http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Mustafa_Barghouti).The show broadcasts on Comedy Central at 11pm EST, 10pm CST, 12am (midnight) MST,and 11pm PST.It also rebroadcasts the next evening at 7pm EST, 7pm CST, 8pm MST, and 7pm PST, or you can view the episode at www.dailyshow. com anytime in the future.------------ -2.For anyone who doesn't know this, last Spring, Hampshire College became the first US college to divest from the Israeli occupation—33 years after they became the first US college to divest from Apartheid South Africa! Times are changing and we all have much to learn from Hampshire folks.Therefore, I am excited to announce the 2009 National Campus Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Conference, taking place Nov20th - Nov 22nd at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Find out more and register at: -3. Below is the itinerary for my November Tour in the Northeast. All are welcome, and please pass this along to anyone you think might be interested…************ ********* **Please distribute widely ************ ********* *******Anna Baltzer presents…LIFE IN OCCUPIED PALESTINE:EYEWITNES S STORIES & PHOTOSDates& Locations (Times & specific details about all events below can be found at: Oct 29 Waterloo, CANADA University of WaterlooNov 1 Buffalo, NY Congregation HavurahNov 1 Rochester, NY First Unitarian Church of RochesterNov 2 Ithaca, NY Cornell UniversityNov 3 Cazenovia, NY Cazenovia United Methodist ChurchNov 4 Syracuse, NY May MemorialUnitarian Universalist SocietyNov 5 Binghamton, NY Binghamton UniversityNov 5 Annandale, NY Bard CollegeNov 8 Millburn, NJ Wyoming Presbyterian ChurchNov 9 Manhattan, NY Fordham Law SchoolNov 10 Long Island, NY SUNY College at Old WestburyNov 11 Bronxville, NY Sarah Lawrence CollegeNov 12 Philadelphia, PA Location TBA**Nov 14 Philadelphia, PA Mishkan Shalom SynagogueNov 17 Washington, DC Council for the National Interest**Nov 18 Philadelphia, PA Villanova UniversityNov 20-22 Amherst,MA 2009 National Campus BDS Conference**Times & specific details about all events above can be found at: www.AnnaInTheMiddle** Double-starred events will be a Speaker Training, an interactive workshop for people who'[...]

Israeli Navy Attacks Boat, Kidnaps Human Rights Workers… & More!


Friends,I have been meaning to write for months and have much to report from my last trip to the Middle East. Thank you for those who have written with concern… I returned safely and have been speaking and organizing locally in conjunction with the ongoing struggle on the ground. There is much to be excited about and much to do! Most urgently, I want to focus this first email on Gaza (Note: there are 3 separate items):************ *1. URGENT ACTION NEEDED![23 miles off the coast of Gaza, at 15:30pm today] - Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the "Spirit of Humanity," abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel."This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip," said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate. "President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that's exactly what we tried to do. We're asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey."According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are "trapped in despair." Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel's December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel's disruption of medical supplies."The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza, hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools, hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of "Cast Lead". Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by them and that they are not alone" said fellow passenger Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that: "No one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of threat to Israel. We carry medical and reconstruction supplies, and children's toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters."Arraf continued, "Israel's deliberate and premeditated attack on our unarmed boat is a clear violation of international law and we demand our immediate and unconditional release."************ *WHAT YOU CAN DO:Call, Email, Fax, and/or Text the contacts below to demand the release of the passengers!Ask them what crime is being committed by delivering toys, medicine, and olive trees to be the people of Gaza?Israeli Ministry of Justicetel: +972 2646 6666 or +972 2646 6340fax: +972 2646 6357Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairstel: +972 2530 3111fax: +972 2530 3367Israeli Prime Minister's OfficeMr. Mark Regevtel: +972 5 062[...]

The Most Important Campaign in Years -- Please Read & Forward!


What I am about to tell you is a recipe for action that has been growing in my mind for almost a year but I've been waiting for the right moment to put it all together. As I receive more invitations to speak than I can even accept, as I receive requests to join the movement all day long, I am increasingly aware that times are changing in the United States. It may not be perceptible from any one town or city, but as someone who travels from place to place, the overall trend is clear: Americans are more and more skeptical of US foreign policy in the Middle East and increasingly sympathetic towards the plight of the Palestinians. It's not just in the big liberal cities--it's in the smallest Midwestern towns, it's on conservative southern ranches--it' s everywhere. In every corner of the country, there is a middle-aged couple who just came back from Bethlehem or a soldier who just came back from Iraq who is outraged. We have reached a critical mass.The trouble is, change in popular opinion doesn't automatically effect a change in reality. For many years the majority of Americans opposed George W. Bush and his war on Iraq, but until only recently the majority's frustration was in vain. People would throw up their hands with disgust at the nightly news--just as they may today watching the carnage in Gaza--but they were most often too disillusioned or disempowered to change what they saw. Then Obama stepped into the picture. The significance of Obama's campaign and subsequent victory cannot be overstated. Obama tapped into the critical mass of disillusioned citizens who were either passive or seperately active, and focused them all into one powerful voice that could not be ignored. He found a way that everyone, no matter who they were, could actively participate in the process and contribute (even if only symbolically with one dollar--it was still a personal investment in the cause). The trouble before Obama's campaign was not that public consciousness for change lacked numbers or even money; the problem was that it lacked organization.I believe the same can be said about the US movement for justice in Palestine today. People are anxious to see change, but many take no action and those who do often act separately. The middle-aged couple does a presentation for their church; the Iraq veteran talks to whoever will listen; the musicians make hip-hop; the artists paint murals; the labor unions put out joint statements; the ordinary citizen writes a letter to the editor or to congress; the community groups demonstrate or vigil; the organizers put on educational events; the mosques host fundraisers; the teachers talk to their students; the college students work on divestment resolutions; the high school students join facebook clubs...Many of course do more than one of these things. They are all valuable to the movement, and are much of what accounts for the change in US public opinion, the physical sustenance of the Palestinian people (with financial contributions, especially to Gaza), and the noticable discomfort of Israel (following boycott and divestment efforts). We will--we must--continue to do all of these things. My particular niche has been educational, I plan to continue and expand by founding a new organization later this Spring called Witness in Action, which will facilitate the training of new speakers, placing them to inform communities, and then helping enthusiastic audience members find their place in the movement (more about Wi[...]

Why now?... What now?... WRITE Now!


* What Now? *As Israel's invasion of the Gaza strip continues its third week with roughly 900 Palestinians killed and thousands more wounded, it is more important than ever to understand the context behind the current escalation, and then to move beyond our understanding into action.At the bottom of this email is a piece including analysis inspired by the recent writings and research of Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi (Security General of the Palestinian National Initiative) and Phyllis Bennis (Director of the New Internationalism Project). But first you'll find-—as always, crucially—-a way to take action: WRITE!___* WRITE Now! *In the first week of the attack on Gaza, the Washington Post ran 7-1 hawkish op-ed/editorials, the Washington Times ran 5-0 hawkish op-ed/editorials, and the Wall Street Journal ran 4-0 hawkish op-ed/editorials.Many of us are upset by this, but we don't feel empowered to change it. But biases in mainstream media do not come out of nowhere; they are largely (though not entirely by any means) the result of active media-monitoring by media watch-dog groups that inundate media who stray from the Zionist party line.Why can't we be as dedicated as those groups? Why aren't media being inundated by people like us who want to see the truth that is reported to the rest of the world every day? We need to be the change that we seek. We need to write media--not here and there, a couple of us, but consistently, all of us, a collective voice, demanding fair coverage.I recently discovered the WRITE! Project (, which has a team monitoring US media and sending out alerts to peace and justice activists write in response to specific pro-Zionist articles and editorials. They provide the email address to write to, the original piece to respond to, and talking points to use. It doesn't take more than 5 minutes.I don't personally have the time to monitor mainstream US media, but every time I get an alert I send a quick email to let the relevant media know what I think. What if all 5,000 people on this list were to do that? We could be the influence that we wish we had!Contact the WRITE! Team to get alerts at writealert@yahoo.comTake a minute to write after each alert.It only works if we do it together.___* Why Now? *Contrary to popular belief, plans for Israel's bombing and invasion of Gaza didn't begin when Hamas started firing rockets at the end of last year's ceasefire. According to the Israeli mainstream newspaper Haaretz, plans for a massive attack on the strip began more than six months ago as Israel and Hamas were negotiating the ceasefire (see "IAF strike followed months of planning" - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak reasoned that the ceasefire would give Israel time to prepare for a "showdown" as soon as it was over.At the end of the ceasefire, Hamas put forth diplomatic initiatives aimed at extending the agreement (based on an end to both cross-border attacks and blockade of the strip), but these efforts were actually dismissed by Israel. With an end to diplomatic possibilities and the continuation of a debilitating blockade, Hamas's returning again to rocket attacks was, albeit lamentable, certainly predictable. Renewed violence, far from coming as a surprise, was presumably precisely what Israel was expecting.So if the decision to strike Gaza in late December was calculated far in advance, why now? The timing coincided precisely w[...]

What Most US Media Isn't Telling You... Now Take Action!


What Most US Media Isn't Telling YouFour days ago, Israel invaded Gaza on the ground to compliment its aerial bombardment. The Palestinian death toll has reached 660. The official Israeli death toll is up to 5, of whom 4 were civilians. Attacks on civilians, no matter who they are, is criminal. Yet the US government, public relations officials, and mainstream media—unlike those of almost every other country in the world—continue to criminalize Palestinian violence while absolving Israel (the undisputed party in power) of almost any responsibility of its own. The official position seems clear: Israel can do as it likes until Hamas stops all violence.The underlying assumption here is that Palestinians' human rights depend on the actions of their leaders. This is false. Palestinians do not have to earn the human rights inalienable to every person on Earth. Human rights are non-negotiable. Likewise, Israelis do not have to earn their human rights. Israeli state terror notwithstanding, it would be criminal to bombard the entire population of Israel (in which, as in Gaza, fighters live alongside their families in civilian areas) for the crimes of its government.But this is exactly what Israel is doing in Gaza with US weapons before a seemingly impotent international community. Every day the carnage unfolds on CNN-International (different from CNN-US—the United States is the only country in the world with domestically customized international news coverage): a mother and her 4 kids killed instantly; a 7-year-old shot twice in the chest (I'm not sure how that happens accidentally, but does that even matter?); more than 40 policemen in training obliterated (even Israel does not claim the Palestinian police orchestrates rocket attacks); TV stations and places of worship successfully destroyed; a mortuary out of room for bodies.According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, "sewage water is pouring into the streets in Beit Hanoun, following damage to the main pipeline between Beit Hanoun and the Beit Lahiya wastewater treatment plant." Save The Children reports that newborn baby Gazans are battling hypothermia due to power cuts and freezing winter winds.Some of the worst news comes from the doctors. Can you imagine a hospital functioning without electricity? According to the mainstream British newspaper The Guardian, medics are working around the clock and running out of anesthesia. There is no more gauze so doctors are using cotton, which sticks to wounds. Nurses are forced to draw blood with the wrong sized syringes and without alcohol. The Guardian article was entitled, "The injured were lying there asking God to let them die." Many have gotten their last wish, dying as they wait in the emergency rooms.Medical workers themselves have also been under fire, with at least 4 killed as they tried to reach victims. Ambulances are not safe, nor are the schools:When I woke up yesterday a UN school had just been bombed, killing 3 of the civilians who had come to the school seeking shelter. Watching the news later in the evening, I learned the same UN school had been bombed again (twice in one day), killing 40 more. The British director of the school, having lost his usual calm, was irate and imploring the world to understand that nowhere in Gaza is safe anymore—there is nowhere left to go.Yet reading the Washington Post and watching the nightly news you might b[...]