Palestine Cultural Day

On May 24th, 2016,  the Alameda County Board of Supervisors proclaimed May 15th, 2016, the 68th anniversary of the occupation of Palestine, as “Palestine Cultural Day.” It is the third proclamation from the board of supervisors recognizing the cultural richness of Palestine and the Palestinian community.

Thank you for those who came out and supported the Proclamation – AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center, Friends of Sabeel – North America FOSNA Buena Vista United Methodist Church, and the Middle East Children’s Alliance, community members, and allies.

IMG_0756

Watch Lara Kiswani speak to the Alameda Board of Supervisors

Lara Kiswani spoke on behalf of the Arab community: “On behalf of the Arab community, we would like to thank Supervisor Chan for spearheading this Palestine Day proclamation and for the support of all the Supervisors in this effort. As Palestinians in the US, we see this step as not simply an act of recognition, but also an expression of your commitment to hear our community concerns, value our experiences and contributions, and to take a stand for social and racial justice.

We are living in a time where Arabs, Muslims and particularly Palestinians are criminalized, marginalized and often made invisible. We understand this experience as part of a long history of racism and violence that has impacted people of color and poor people all across the world. We understand that recognizing Palestine and Palestinian people is in of itself taking a stand against racism. After all, there are many billions of dollars, energy and political interests that go into wiping our history and identity. Just as historically there have been similar efforts made to erase the history of the Indigenous people of this land, to normalize the segregation of Blacks in Apartheid South Africa. We see ourselves as part of this history, this movement for social justice, part of the global community that strives to achieve self determination, dignity and justice.

We come here today to thank you for your act of solidarity, particularly at this time. And we ask you to put your solidarity into action by taking a stand against Islamophobia, and anti-Arab racism. And by extension, taking a stand against all forms of racism, discrimination, and State violence. And we ask you to challenge the inequity, segregation, and militarism that saturate our cities from Ferguson, to Jerusalem to Oakland. There are indeed ways that we can make changes today.

One way we ask you to explore and examine is defunding the attempts to militarize and make war on Arabs, Muslims, poor people and people of color right here in Alameda County. Pay close attention to the way in which Alameda tax dollars are used to make an enemy out of local residents. Things such as the SWAT training and weapons expo known as Urban Shield and hosted in Pleasanton, that celebrates military exercises and encourages emergency responders to relate to people in your backyard, to relate to many of you and your families, as enemies rather than people worthy of health and care. Defunding Urban Shield, stopping military states and human rights’ violators such as Apartheid Israel from training local law enforcement, continuing to invest in and celebrate culture, and community are some steps in that direction. We would be thrilled to partner with you in such efforts to better Alameda County and the lives of all its residents.

Thank you for taking the time to honor our history and culture, to hear our concerns, and see us as part and parcel of social fabric of Alameda County.”

IMG_0770 IMG_0766

‪#‎Palestine‬ ‪#‎Palestineculturalday‬ ‪#‎BDS‬ ‪#‎StopUrbanShield‬

George Jackson in the Sun of Palestine

THE ABU JIHAD CENTER

[ press release ]

“George Jackson in the Sun of Palestine”

GJFlyer

“This is an important event for the Palestinian prisoner.”

– Dr. Sari Nussibeh

“We have to reinforce solidarity with freedom-minded people all around the world.”

– Issa Qaraka

“The Abu Jihad center does solidarity work movements for liberation.”

– Dr. Fayed Abu Al-Hajj

flyer2

 The Abu Jihad museum at Al Quds University is hosting an international exhibition titled “George Jackson in the Sun of Palestine,” which opened October 20, 2015. It is the first international exhibit of this center for prisoner movement affairs located in the Abu Dis village of Jerusalem. The exhibition links the Palestinian prisoner struggle with the struggles of other political prisoners around the world. It aims to raise international awareness about the reality of prisoners in general and what the Israeli Occupation State is doing to harass Palestinian prisoners in particular.

The ceremonial opening of the exhibition was preceded by a symposium focused on George Jackson, the Black revolutionary prisoner of North America, and his connection to Palestinian struggles, Palestinian writers, and Palestinian prisoners. His belief in the Palestinian right to self-determination, a strong belief shared by his comrades, was a central topic of discussion. Speakers included Dr. Fayed Abu Al-Hajj, the head of the Abu Jihad center, and Dr. Issa Qaraka, the head of the Committee of Prisoner Affairs. Also speaking were Sahar Francis, the director of Addameer (Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association), and Greg Thomas, a political activist and university professor visiting Palestine from the United States. The launch was attended by ex-prisoners themselves, as well as Dr. Sari Nussibeh, a member of the Al Quds University Board of Trustees; Dr. Imad Abu-Kishki, the current president of the University; and Radi Al-Jarai, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Prisoners and a lecturer at Al Quds University, not to mention a range of political activists and representatives from human rights organizations and prisoner organizations Many media outlets were on hand to cover both the opening and the symposium.

The exhibition generated a tremendously positive reaction, collectively confirming the importance of continuing to link people and activists who call for freedom and liberation on a worldwide level.

Dr. Sari Nussibeh expressed his appreciation for the Abu Jihad center’s enormous efforts in bringing this exhibition to fruition. He pointed out that Al Quds University, from its initial decision to house the Abu Jihad center on campus, always wanted to make it an active organization in terms of forging international connections with political and human rights movements enacting human liberation. Nussibeh explained that enabling Palestinians to experience an exhibit on the life of a prison activist incarcerated in America is very important for the Palestinian prisoner as well as American public opinion on the matter of prisoners and imprisonment, and asserted that he will be happy to see such activity continue.

In his turn, Dr. Fayed Abu Al-Hajj expressed his sincere happiness about being able to mount such an exhibition, saying that “We, as the Abu Jihad center and the Al Quds University family, consider the hosting of this event to be like a Palestinian wedding. It is a coming together for the Palestinian people, the female prisoners as well as the male prisoners – not only the Palestinians and the Arabs, but also for prisoners all around the world. We are honored to host this historic exhibition that bears the name of one of the great Black freedom fighters in America, to honor his legacy as he spent his life defending the ethics of liberty and being active against oppression, injustice, and exploitation. This exhibition will be a cornerstone of the Abu Jihad center as we practice the vision of Dr. Nussibeh. He is the one who made it possible for us to reach this stage of the center’s work, a stage in which we are able to communicate with the rest of the world, support them in their causes, and win them over to stand up for our cause.”

He pointed out that the Palestinian people know the scale of the injustice and racism befalling Black brothers and sisters in the United States. “In this regard we remind the people of the whole world, including the people of the United States, that our people are facing racism, injustice, and abuse in all its forms at the hands of the Israeli Occupation State. And we demand that people stand firm in the face of continued occupation and apply pressure on their government to end their support for the Occupation state.”

Abu Al-Hajj also elaborated on the fighting life of George Jackson, saying that Jackson was just like a thousand Palestinian political prisoners. “He taught himself from within his prison cell. He joined the Black Panthers, which was active in confronting racism in the United States. And we have occasion to remember their struggle, especially when we feel the racism, oppression and abuse has reached a peak.” He also highlighted the importance of practicing solidarity between popular struggles, as this provides moral support for Palestinian prisoners who are caged in Israeli dungeons. “And let’s remember the moment after Jackson’s assassination, when the prison guards told his mother, ‘We killed one of your sons last year, and we killed yet another one of your sons today.  Pretty soon you’ll have no more sons left.’ She replied, ‘I have sons all over the world wherever people are fighting freedom.’ It is amazing how many Palestinian mothers have repeated these very words, especially when their loved ones fall into the clutches of the Israeli prisons.”

On another note, Abu Al-Hajj remarked that the Abu Jihad center is very active in networking with the international liberation movements, including those in South Africa, reporting that when the Vice President of South Africa visited the center he was astonished by the quantity of materials in the museum and the cultural and literary reservoir of the Palestinian political prisoners.

On behalf of Al Quds University, Dr. Imad Abu Kishek congratulated the Abu Jihad center on this great achievement, affirming that Al Quds prioritizes the issues of prisoners because they relate to such a broad swath of Palestinian society. He added further that the existence of the center’s exhibition featuring Jackson’s political struggle is also beneficial to a wide range of students and activists. “It moves us to look at the prisoners from a wider lens and to relate our struggles to the struggles of other people who also suffer injustice and discrimination.” He hopes that Abu Jihad center will continue to host exhibitions hailing from different areas that support the Palestinian cause.

Dr. Issa Qaraka thanked the center and the university for their efforts in hosting the exhibition and the opening symposium, “especially at this time when our sons are rising up in the face of Israeli state oppression, racism, and injustice.” In this regard, he pointed out that the face of oppression and injustice is one and the voice of freedom is also one, “internationally, everywhere.” “This is what unites strugglers all around the world.”

He added that Jackson was killed in prison, just like the Palestinian Abrahim Al-Raii was killed in his Israeli prison cell. “The cell in which Jackson lived under so much oppression and injustice is the same cell in which thousands of male and female Palestinian prisoners are suffering. They are suffering from injustice, the denial of rights, and attempted murder. Just as Jackson was offered bad food on a daily basis, thousands of Palestinian prisoners are offered bad food. Just as Jackson was forbidden books and such, our female and male Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli dungeons are daily denied literature, letters, and educational materials. It is not even so strange to find a poem in Jackson’s cell that was written by the Palestinian poet Samih al-Qasim, titled ‘Enemy of the Sun.’ That poem united freedom-minded people of the world. All the systematic killing and oppression carried out by the Israeli government are just manifestations of other systems that were used against many other oppressed peoples. This is what guides us and strengthens our solidarity with all the freedom-minded people of the world and with the struggles of those who are on the road to freedom and justice. We consider the U.S.A. to be the father of all the oppression and injustice that befalls our people, as the U.S.A. fertilizes and bolsters the Israeli occupation state.”

Qaraka also pointed out that “Israel” is considered an Apartheid state by all the world’s experts on the subject. “Look at what’s happening now in the city of Jerusalem and what happened earlier with the building the Apartheid separation wall. Look at the ideology of racism that is constantly fed to the Israeli youth. Look at the legal decisions of the Israeli courts. The settlers commit crimes against Palestinian families with impunity, while our sons are being sentenced to tens of years in prison for any reaction to the violence of the Israeli army and the settlers.”

“Let us not forget the denial of our most basic rights in these courts. On this matter, Jackson had ‘put his finger on the wound,’ the Palestinian wound that continues to bleed. It is important to recognize that what makes his experience so exemplary is that he politically educated and re-socialized himself in the prison, taking  inspiration from the steadfastness of Palestinian prisoners like Samih al-Qasim. And I believe the real reason for killing him was that he drank from the ethics of liberation and the defense of human rights.” He concluded, “We as Palestinian people bring to life the legacy of all the freedom fighters of the world through this display of Jackson’s life.”

Sahar Francis was also thankful that Abu Jihad has organized this exhibit, stating that it is very important to deepen and empower the relationship between the Palestinian revolution and freedom fighters internationally. She focused on solidarity that has already been forged between many organizations, especially those that challenge prisons, policies against political activists, and the many companies that facilitate and profit from the “security” complex of the U.S. and Israeli prison systems.  Most notable here is “G4S,.” the British multinational “security” company that is the world’s largest such company.  “We recently learned that Bill Gates was supporting them and is investing in them.  In response, we activists applied abundant pressure on him to withdraw his investment. And we succeeded.” She added that this is proof that we can do much more when we work in partnership with international organizations. “It is necessary to network with other struggles. Then we will bring to justice all the companies that violate international law.” Francis observed that the Israeli Occupation State is benefiting from every method of oppression and exploitation that has been practiced by other governments in their attempts to destroy Palestinian society. “As we see in multiple situations and scenarios, arrest or detention is an aim in and of itself for the Israeli Occupation State, which operates in exactly the same manner in the United States of America. An example of this is in the schools – whenever a Black student violates any kind of rule, he or she will be subjected to the worst punishment, which may entail actual imprisonment, which may then lead to denial of social services, which may further lead to denial of employment or work. This is exactly what Israel is doing by targeting school kids. Another example is what recently passed in the Israeli parliament, a law that allows the force-feeding of prisoners, as practiced by the United States government in Guantanamo. All of this compels us to continue cooperation with the freedom-minded people of the world.”

The U.S.-based scholar and activist Greg Thomas presented his sincere thanks to Abu Jihad center, represented by the Director, Dr. Fayed Abu Al-Hajj, whose full support led to the successful hosting of this exhibition. Thomas emphasized that the center powerfully represents the ongoing and historical struggles of the Palestinian people.  Thomas explained that many international activists regularly celebrate the legacy of George Jackson, and that Abu Jihad center, as an institution that genuinely appreciates the role of prisoners as thinkers and militants, is perhaps the best place to host an exhibition on this great revolutionary fighter for freedom. He added that Jackson was an enemy of colonialism, racism and capitalism. He said Jackson became a legend inside the prisons and outside of them. A revolutionary role model for his fellow inmates, he completed two books in prison, one of which was published after prison guards assassinated him, on August 21, 1971, when he was only 29 years old. The French writer Jean Genet, a supporter of the Palestinian struggle, wrote the introduction for Jackson’s first book, Soledad Brother, describing it as “a striking poem of love and combat.” The manuscript for Jackson’s second book, Blood in My Eye, was smuggled out of the prison shortly before the state assassinated him. Thomas maintained that Jackson is still alive and present in the souls of world revolutionaries against oppression.  And he lives on in the nightmares of oppressive systems—a symbol of uncompromising freedom.

From prison, Jackson would join the Black Panther Party, a legendary organ for Black power in the United States and a party that supported the Palestinian struggle. This led to the establishment of a Palestinian group under the same name in the 1980s. Palestinian revolutionaries inspired Jackson and his Black Panthers, while Jackson is himself considered to be the architect of the modern anti-prison movement in the U.S.

Finally, Radi Al-Jarai agreed that this type of exhibitions is very helpful for the Palestinian prisoner’s cause, since it connects this liberation struggle to those of freedom-minded people around the world.  It also reminds us of the extent to which the Palestinian struggle has inspired other movements for justice, as well as other poets and writers, across the world. But perhaps most importantly it increases the level of historical awareness among Palestinian youth of the history of oppression of Blacks in the United States; the ways they maintain opposition against it; and the heavy price to be paid for freedom in the struggle for liberation.

[ trans. Mahmoud Muna ]

w

One year ago, we made history.

Block the Boat, One Year Later

One year ago the Bay Area made history by blocking the largest Israeli shipping line from docking at the port of Oakland. When the entire world was taking to the streets against Israeli Apartheid and the war on Gaza, so too were thousands in the streets of San Francisco. People from all across Northern California stood shoulder to shoulder to march in the spirit of justice, liberation and self-determination.

Then on August 16th, we put those convictions into action with the Block the Boat coalition – AROC along with over 70 immigrant rights, anti-war, abolitionist, queer, economic and racial justice organizations, and numerous individuals – set on stopping the largest Israeli shipping line, the Zim ship, at the Port of Oakland. We mobilized en masse with a remarkable show of solidarity between ILWU Local 10 rank-and-file and our community, building on the radical legacy of the longshoremen, the South African anti-Apartheid struggle, and Arab solidarity with workers in the Bay Area. We made history by ultimately stopping the Zim shipfrom docking at the Port of Oakland indefinitely. The workers honored picket lines by refusing to unload the ship in August, September and October – and the Israeli Zim ship hasn’t returned since.

We accomplished this victory by centering Arab leadership, building on worker solidarity and committing to long term cross movement building. We organized in coordination with actions in Vancouver, NY, Tampa, Long Beach, Seattle and Tacoma. And together we achieved one of the most successful Boycott, Divest and Sanction victories in history by making a political, cultural and economic impact on the Apartheid State of Israel.

The BDS movement is growing as people are recognizing that Israeli occupation of Palestine is linked to repression worldwide. The relationship of Israel to the policing and repression of Black and Brown communities has been exposed, and the connections between movements for self-determination from the streets of Oakland, Baltimore and Ferguson to the movements in Haiti, the Philippines and Palestine are deepening.

Alongside all our people struggling here and in our homelands, we remain committed to rising up against policing, war and militarism. As we commemorate the Block the Boat victory, we ask you to join AROC in the Stop the Urban Shield coalition to continue to rise up against repression for the sake of our dignity and liberation.

And be sure to take a few minutes to watch this Block the Boat video documenting the resilience, commitment and power of the people in standing up against state violence.

Action Alert: Support AROC and Arabic Language Pathways in SF Schools!

SIGN COMMUNITY LETTER OF SUPPORT [HERE]

Over the last month, our small yet powerful grassroots Arab community organization has been the target of an attack by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). They have vilified us on media and to public officials, and have been attempting to intimidate our allies for supporting us. The attacks escalated when the Examiner printed this article.

Who is JCRC?

They are a well-financed group that furthers the interests of the apartheid state of Israel. Their objective is to challenge Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions work in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Wherever they see an organization successfully supporting the Palestinian struggle for liberation, they attack.

Now, they are attacking both AROC and the opportunity for children in San Francisco to learn Arabic language and culture.

JCRC is attempting to convince the San Francisco Board of Education to revote on a resolution that the board passed unanimously on May 26, listing AROC and the Vietnamese Youth Development Center as community partners who championed the campaign to implement Arabic and Vietnamese language pathways in SFUSD. This initiative, born of an inspiring community effort, would expand the opportunity of Arabs and Vietnamese to have their languages and cultures better represented in the schools they attend.

What does JCRC really want?

They want to discredit AROC because of our impactful work in support of Palestinian rights, and they want control of the Arabic pathway process so they can ensure there are no cultural elements to the curriculum that could “threaten” their conservative agenda.

Don’t let JCRC undermine Arab culture in our city to advance their harmful agenda.

Will you take two minutes to sign on to community support letter to urge the Board of Educations continued support of AROC and our role in developing the Arabic language pathway in SFUSD?

The Board of Education is on break until August. By signing onto this letter you will help affirm that communities are in support of AROC and against the attempt of political interest groups like JCRC to undermine grassroots community efforts. By signing on you show that people of conscience are united against racism.

MORE INFO

SFUSD PRESS RELEASE ON ARABIC LANGUAGE PATHWAYS

AROC Announcement and Photos of Arabic Language Pathways Victory

JCRC Case Study: the Attack on Eastside Arts Alliance

JCRC attack on Children’s Art Exhibit from Gaza

IJAN report, the Business of Backlash: the Attack on the Palestinian Movement and Other Movements for Justice

VIDEO OF FULL SPEACH BY LARA KISWANI, ED OF AROC (MISPRESENTED BY JCRC)

 

AROC supports SJP in the face of attacks published by the Daily Cal

AROC supports SJP in the face of attacks published by the Daily Cal

On March 31, 2015 UC Berkeley’s student paper, the Daily Cal, decided to become a vehicle of anti-Black and anti-Palestinian racism. It seems that it isn’t enough that the US government continues to wage wars against people of the Third World, develops policies and practices targeting Palestinians in the US, and works with the the Apartheid State of Israel to ethnically cleanse the indigenous Palestinian population, and to train local law enforcement on how to do the same to Black and Brown communities in the US. No, apparently the Daily Cal feels that they too should contribute to this systemic violence.

The Daily Cal editorial board made a decision to publish an op-ed by well-known slave apologist and racist, David Horowitz targeting Students for Justice in Palestine. There is no need to unpack Horowitz’s baseless arguments attacking Arabs and Palestinians. There is a need, however, to ask why the Daily Cal would choose to prop up such hate and divisiveness? And to allow someone like Horowitz to spew hate while invoking UC Berkeley’s “Principles of Community.”

Surely, Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Jews, Blacks and all those that Horowitz targets are part of the community that the Daily Cal applies to their principles. Surely war mongering, slavery, apartheid, and genocide are not part of those principles. In 2001, Horowitz ran ads in college newspapers stating that black people should be grateful for slavery and are indebted to America for it. In fact, the Daily Cal was forced to apologize for running this shameful ad at the time. Earlier this year, Horowitz ran an anti-Palestinian poster campaign across the country on college campuses.

And now, the man that the Southern Poverty Law Center has called the “Godfather” of the anti-Muslim movement in the US, is given space in UC Berkeley’s student paper to incite hate and violence. All the while, the Daily Cal consistently censors op-eds by SJP or pro-Palestinian students.

As an organization that works to challenge state violence against our communities, we hold the Daly Cal accountable for the perpetuation of systemic racism against Arabs, Palestinians, Muslims and all those who stand for justice and liberation of Palestine. And we specifically hold the Daly Cal responsible for creating a divisive and harmful environment for Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Berkeley.

We call on people to continue to support the work of Students for Justice in Palestine and to hold institutions accountable for the repression of all movements for liberation and justice.

March 21: Anti War Protest on 12th Anniversary of US Invasion of Iraq

Arabic English Antiwar protest 3:12:15

English Anti War protest

SF Anti-war Protest on 12th Anniversary of U.S. Invasion of Iraq

Saturday, March 21, 12noon, Powell & Market Streets

Stop Pres. Obama’s new 3-year AUMF – Authorization for Use of Military Force!

End War and Occupation in the Middle East and Central Asia – U.S. Out!

No to U.S. sanctions & intervention vs. Iran, Venezuela, Korea, Cuba, Mexico, Russia, Haiti, Philippines & everywhere

Free Palestine – End U.S. Aid to Israel!

Fund People’s Needs, Not Endless War!

[FACEBOOK PAGE] 

Initiated by the ANSWER Coalition

Endorsed by:
AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center
Aypal: Building API Community Power
BAYAN USA
Code Pink,
Critical Resistance – Oakland,
General Union of Palestine Students -GUPS SFSU
Haiti Action Committee
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Middle East Children’s Alliance
Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA)
OccupySF Action Council,
Palestinian Youth Movement – حركة الشباب الفلسطيني
Party for Socialism & Liberation,
PODER (SF)
Cindy Sheehan,
Socialist Viewpoint,
Unitarian Universalists for Peace & Justice,
WORD – Women Organized to Resist & Defend,
Workers World Party,
World Can’t Wait,
XMC: Xicana Moratorium Coalition

info@araborganizing.org | 415-861-7444

Block the Boat Declares Decisive Victory Over Apartheid Israel

portofoklalandlarge

Oakland has made history once again with another BDS victory for Palestine against the Israeli Zim shipping line. This latest round of organizing has been the most momentous and historic. Members of ILWU Local 10 informed Block the Boat organizers that the Zim Beijing which was headed to the Port of Oakland, has been re-routed to Russia to avoid disruptions at the SSA terminal. For the first time ever, an Israeli ship has been completely turned away before reaching its port of destination due to sustained overwhelming community organizing.

The damage to Israel’s credibility can’t be exaggerated–the Zim line, though privately owned, is an Israeli “security asset.” Israel exerts control over the corporation through a “golden share” which it uses to prevent the sale of the company into foreign hands. The Zim line is mandated to be part of Israel’s critical supply chain during protracted military conflicts. The brand and economic impact on Zim has yet to be calculated, but is surely devastating. Goods have been rerouted, and undelivered for months. ILWU workers have honored our pickets and sided with the community against US complicity in Israeli apartheid. Zim has been disrupted and confronted by anti-Zionist protests in Seattle, Tacoma, Los Angeles, Vancouver, New Orleans, New York and Tampa. Ports all over North America are making it clear that Israel can no longer conduct business as usual because Zionism is simply not welcome on our coasts.

Zim‘s Maneuvers

The Zim Beijing, which was scheduled to arrive in Oakland on the morning of Saturday October 25, 2014, instead broke from its heading soon after it reached the north western coast of Mexico on Wednesday, October 22nd, and headed further northwest. Several sources, including Zim’s own online schedule, and port and union authorities confirm that the Beijing’s intended destination was Oakland, but that it changed its itinerary to avoid yet another humiliating defeat. In an article published on 10/26, headlined “Zim Beijing Avoids Oakland” the GulfShip News reported, “The ship was due to call on Saturday, but then delayed its call to today [Sunday]. Reports from Oakland suggest Zim has now decided to cancel the call altogether. Zim has been hit by protests at Oakland in August and September, disrupting its schedules.”

We also tracked the ship via satellite using an online marine tracking service and documented that the ship listed its destination as Oakland just minutes after it left the Panama Canal–the norm for Zim ships on the Asia Pacific line, which stop at either Los Angeles or Oakland before heading to China and Russia. Just days into its 9 day journey from the Canal, however, Zim abruptly removed Oakland from its online schedule, and headed northwest, taking it ever farther from Oakland.

Confronting Global Repression

It is clear that the Zim Beijing diverted course in response to the powerful Block the Boat organizing. In August, Block the Boat organized and inspired a series of historic night and day pickets, which with the support of ILWU workers, prevented the Zim Piraeus from unloading for 4 days, and eventually forced the ship to leave before even a fraction of its cargo could be unloaded. In September, Zim faced another set of pickets that forced the Zim Shanghai to offload in Los Angeles, rather than its intended Oakland destination. The Block the Boat coalition along with the broader Bay Area community has made it clear that we can determine what takes place in our towns. And business with the racist, exclusionary, Zionist state of Israel, which works alongside local and federal law enforcement to repress our communities, will not go unchallenged.

Activists remained focused throughout Zim’s obfuscations, organizing for a large turnout to picket the Beijing whenever it would arrive–Saturday, Sunday, or any day of the coming week. Given the convoluted maneuvers Zim used in August, in which it left the port under the cover of an Israeli consulate press release, only to return to another terminal less than an hour later, organizers now know to be thorough and patient. After tracking the Zim Beijing for several days, Block the Boat prepared for a week of possible pickets by staging a late day march of hundreds on Sunday to the Port of Oakland to show the strength and focus of this movement. It was a warning to Zim to keep going as it reached the 1000-mile mark from Oakland and a promise that the gates would be lined again with unstoppable anti-Zionist picketers if it returned.

As the Beijing sails beyond the horizon, it still bears the destination of Oakland, though it is over 1200 miles away from San Francisco Bay at the time of this statement. Our efforts have paid off; Zim Beijing does not appear to be turning around. Even if it did reverse course and head back to Oakland at this point, it would be a week late, and it would find us once again, prepared to stop it at the port.

BDS Victory

We are declaring a historic victory in our effort to block the Beijing. It is very likely that Zim has been completely prevented from doing any future business at the Port of Oakland. Only time will tell if Zim’s changes to its schedule reflect the real re-routing of its ships, or simply just another ruse to fool opponents of Israeli apartheid. Obviously, here in Oakland, we are ready for Zim’s return any time. Together with our brothers and sisters from Ferguson to Palestine, we are fighting back against state violence and apartheid and we are prepared to bring it down brick by brick, wall by wall, port by port.

@blocktheboat #blocktheboatpalestinedesignaction (1)

Endorsed by:
Addameer: Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Organization
Advance the Struggle
Af3irm
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition USA
All African People’s Revolutionary Party
American Muslims for Palestine
Anakbayan East Bay
Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC)
Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
ANSWER Coalition
ASATA
BAYAN USA
BDS collation in Illinois
BDS collation in Texas
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Social Justice Committee
Bay Area Women in Black
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within
Catalyst Project
Center for Political Education (CPE)
The Coalition for Justice in Palestine in Illinois
The Coalition for Justice in Palestine in Texas
Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel
Cognitive Liberty
Community Futures Collective
Critical Resistance Oakland
Critical Resistance Los Angeles
East Bay Solidarity Network
Free Palestine Movement
Freedom Archives
Freedom Socialist Party
Friends of Deir Ibzi’a
Friends of Sabeel–North America (FOSNA)
GABRIELA San Francisco
Global March to Jerusalem – North America
Gray Panthers of San Francisco
General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS)
Haiti Action Committee
Helena (Montana) Service for Peace and Justice/SERPAJ
Interdenominational Advocates for Peace
International Action Center
International Coalition to Free the Angola 3
International Jewish Anti Zionist Network (IJAN)
International Socialist Organization (ISO)
Iraq Veterans Against War (IVAW) – Bay Area
ISM – Northern California
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Justice for Palestinians
Labor for Palestine
Lighthouse Masjid Social Justice Committee
Marcha Patriotica Colombia – California Chapter
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Milbes Family Foundation
National Lawyers Guild
New York City Labor Against the War
NorCal Friends of Sabeel
Occupy SF Action Council
Palestinian Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions National
Committee (BNC)
Palestinian American Youth League
Palestinian American Council/ National
Palestinian American Congress /National
Palestinian Humanitarian Relief Fund/National
Palestine Poster Project Archives
Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM)
Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)
The Peace and Freedom Party of Alameda County
Phat Beets
Queers Undermining Israeli Terror (QUIT)
Real Cost of Prisons
Ruckus Society
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
SF Women in Black
Students for Justice in Palestine – Cal
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
UAW2865 BDS Caucus
US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)
WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend)
Workers World Party

March and Rally SUNDAY 3pm!

All Out for Palestine on Sunday! 

Our community power is disrupting Israeli business as usual. Our strength is challenging US-Israeli repression.

The Israeli Zim ship is on the run, but we are closely tracking the ship. And based on our calculations, the Zim Beijing cannot make it this weekend,  but it could change course and arrive this week. Let’s show Zim what they can expect if they try to come back. Let’s show the world that the Bay Area says no to Zionism.

SUNDAY, October 26th

3pm

Meet at West Oakland Bart and march to Port of Oakland

@blocktheboat | #blocktheboat |info@araborganizing.org

We are calling on all to join us on Sunday and take a stand to stop the US and Israeli relationship, their wars, militarization and repression by disrupting international commerce. Lets make sure Zim knows it will be met with the strength of our sustained movement should it attempt to come this week. As we mobilize at the Port, Block the Boat protests are being planned all over North America with solidarity actions taking place in New York, Long Beach, Tacoma and Vancouver. ALL OUT on Sunday to show our strength and to remind Zim that Israeli business is not welcome on the West coast! Please spread the word.

Watch the march and rally live:  http://www.kpfa.org/kpfa-live-stream-channel

btb10-26

END THE SIEGE ON GAZA!
END THE COLONIAL OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE!
RIGHT OF RETURN FOR ALL PALESTINIAN REFUGEES!
FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!
BOYCOTT, DIVEST, SANCTION!

What’s Happening?

This summer, we made history at the Port of Oakland when we stopped the Israeli-owned shipping company Zim from unloading its goods for four straight days. The blockade was a catalyst for cities all over the U.S. and across the globe in the ever-growing BDS movement to resist Zionism and end Israeli apartheid.

The military assault on Gaza—which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians and left more than 100,000 homeless—has halted, thanks to the Palestinian resistance, but our struggle is not over. With the full support of the U.S. government, Israel continues to carry out its brutal occupation, confiscate more land and build more settlements, imprison thousands of Palestinians, and maintain the siege on Gaza as part of its policy of ethnic cleansing.

The apartheid state of Israel not only impacts Palestinians, but also plays a role in the oppression of communities all across the globe. The Zim shipping line is instrumental in upholding this system of global repression. There are direct ties—training, weapons, and surveillance—between Israel’s occupation of Palestine and the increasingly militarized occupation of black and brown communities in the United States. And it is now a well-known fact that police departments in and around Ferguson, Missouri, have received training from Israel.

Why Block Zim at the Ports?

ZIM shipping line transported weapons and European settlers from as far back as1948, playing a central role in the creation of the state of Israel and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Now it’s responsible for shipping Israeli ammunition used on poor, black and brown communities all across the US. One-third owned by the Israeli government, Zim fuels a significant portion of Israel’s economy. Challenging Zim cuts a lifeline of Israeli colonialism and exposes the strength of US-Israeli ties.

Ports have historically been places for workers to assert their power and make social change. During apartheid in South Africa, ILWU workers refused to unload South African cargo in San Francisco in 1984. This action was a major catalyst for international anti-apartheid solidarity that helped topple the apartheid regime of South Africa.

We built on that legacy at the Port of Oakland in 2010, after a Turkish flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, was attacked by Israel for attempting to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, by successfully blocking a Zim ship from being unloaded—the first time in US history an Israeli ship was blocked. And recently, we made history again with the 2014 Block the Boat campaign, stopping Zim and Zionism and the port of Oakland for four consecutive days. Just as apartheid fell in South Africa, so too it will fall in Israel!

Call to Action!

Israel was defeated by the resistance and resilience of the people of Gaza. We are inspired as they rebuild and continue to affirm life in the aftermath of Israel’s latest bombardment. Palestinian resistance did not begin with Israel’s latest bombardment—it has been going on since 1948, since Israel came into existence. And it will not cease until Israeli apartheid falls. It is now more important than ever to continue to weaken the racist state of Israel and bring down apartheid.

Palestinians are unified in their call to people around the world to take action against Israel everywhere. Bay Area residents have the opportunity to up the ante and be leaders in the movement for justice in Palestine!

We salute the longshoreman who stood with the Palestinian people by honoring our Block the Boat picket and refusing to unload Zim in August, and for doing so again during another successful picket in September. We will be asking workers to once again join with us in sending a message to the world that Zionism is not welcome at the Port of Oakland. Join us!

Join the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions!

From Oakland to Seattle, Los Angeles, Vancouver, New York, New Orleans, and Tampa—turn the Israeli ship around!

Not in Palestine | Not in the Bay | Not Anywhere | Stand Against Zionism Everywhere

Endorsed by:

Addameer: Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Organization
Advance the Struggle
Af3irm
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition USA
All African People’s Revolutionary Party
American Muslims for Palestine
Anakbayan East Bay
Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC)
Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
ANSWER Coalition
BAYAN USA
BDS collation in Illinois
BDS collation in Texas
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Social Justice Committee
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within
Catalyst Project
Center for Political Education (CPE)
The Coalition for Justice in Palestine in Illinois
The Coalition for Justice in Palestine in Texas
Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel
Cognitive Liberty
Community Futures Collective
Critical Resistance Oakland
Critical Resistance Los Angeles
East Bay Solidarity Network
Free Palestine Movement
Freedom Archives
Freedom Socialist Party
Friends of Sabeel–North America (FOSNA)
GABRIELA San Francisco
Global March to Jerusalem – North America
Gray Panthers of San Francisco
General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS)
Haiti Action Committee
Helena (Montana) Service for Peace and Justice/SERPAJ
Interdenominational Advocates for Peace
International Action Center
International Coalition to Free the Angola 3
International Jewish Anti Zionist Network (IJAN)
International Socialist Organization (ISO)
Iraq Veterans Against War (IVAW) – Bay Area
ISM – Northern California
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Justice for Palestinians
Labor for Palestine
Lighthouse Masjid Social Justice Committee
Marcha Patriotica Colombia – California Chapter
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Milbes Family Foundation
New York City Labor Against the War
NorCal Friends of Sabeel
Occupy SF Action Council
Palestinian Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions National
Committee (BNC)
Palestinian American Youth League
Palestinian American Council/ National
Palestinian American Congress /National
Palestinian Humanitarian Relief Fund/National
Palestine Poster Project Archives
Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM)
Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)
Palestine Poster Project Archives
Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM)
Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)
The Peace and Freedom Party of Alameda County
Phat Beets
Queers Undermining Israeli Terror (QUIT)
Real Cost of Prisons
Ruckus Society
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
SF Women in Black
Students for Justice in Palestine – Cal
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
UAW2865 BDS Caucus
US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)
WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend)
Workers World Party

Please email info@araborganizing.org with subject “Endorse Block the Boat” to add your organization.

AROC client released after 10 years in prison!

Palestine has shown the world that the will of the people is mightier than that of any military or state. And from the Ports of Oakland to the seashores of Gaza, our communities have demonstrated that the power of resilience, and an unwavering commitment to liberation can make things happen.

Despite the horrific assault on Gaza, we have victories to celebrate– the steadfastness of the people of Palestine, and the historic success of blocking the Israeli ZIM ship at the Port of Oakland for 4 days straight. And there is more. While AROC members were busy organizing, AROC’s Arab American Legal Services was representing a Palestinian client in detention. After 10 years in prison, stateless and facing deportation, AROC won his case and he was released last week!

From resisting colonialism in Palestine, to stopping Israel at the Port, to supporting our prisoners, we are collectively building a movement for justice and we are winning!

AROC’s Palestinian client in detention released from prison after 10 years!

By Lina Baroudi, AROC Staff Attorney

linaAROC

Ashraf is a Palestinian from the Occupied West Bank. When he was a young teenager, he was arrested by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and detained in an Israeli prison for 40 days, during which time he was severely tortured, both by the IDF and Palestinian informants who were working for the IDF.  The arrest was based on a coerced confession from a neighborhood teenager.  An Israeli military prosecutor filed charges against Ashraf in the Military Court of Jenin, accusing him of membership in Hamas from the ages of 11 to 13.  Upon learning that Ashraf had a scholarship and visa to complete high school in the United States, the parties agreed that Ashraf would be exiled from the apartheid state of Israel and the Occupied West Bank; upon this agreement, the military judge ordered Ashraf released from custody.

Young, isolated and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder in the U.S., Ashraf was convicted of two felonies in 2004, for which he received a prison term of four years.  In 2006, Ashraf was convicted of a third felony which, although neither serious nor violent, mandated that he be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison under California’s Three Strikes Law.  Faced with the reality that he would be spending his life in prison, Ashraf focused on rehabilitation: earning his GED and associate of arts degree and working towards his bachelor’s degree, completing 600 hours of training to serve as a mentor to other inmates, becoming a team leader with the Alternatives to Violence project (AVP), becoming certified as a drug and alcohol addiction counselor, and organizing and facilitating an Islam-based 12-step substance abuse program.

In 2013, a superior court judge found that Ashraf was deserving of re-sentencing under Proposition 36, a voter-approved reform to California’s Three Strikes Law, and modified his last sentence to 6 years.  Having served his entire sentence, Ashraf was released from state prison and immediately transferred to immigration custody for deportation from the U.S.  The Department of Homeland Security issued an order of removal against him, but, as a stateless Palestinian, he did not have a passport, and Israel declined to accept him for return.  After seven months in immigration custody, an asylum officer agreed that Ashraf has a reasonable fear of return to the apartheid State Israel and the West Bank and placed him in removal proceedings to fight deportation.

AROC agreed to represent Ashraf, on a pro bono basis, not only to fight his removal from the U.S., but also to seek release from the prolonged and indefinite detention he was facing in DHS custody, through a request to the immigration court and a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court.  After appearing with Ashraf at the immigration court to indicate that he would be seeking withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture, AROC was successful in seeking a bond hearing for Ashraf.  On August 26, 2014, he was granted bond by the San Francisco Immigration Court and – after ten years in state prison and one year in DHS custody – he was released that evening to his family and community!

AROC will continue to represent Ashraf in his removal proceedings, to ensure that he is not deported from the U.S. to either the Apartheid state of Israel or Occupied Palestine, where he faces certain arrest, detention, torture and death.