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Rutgers Palestine Conference Report

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  • ummyakoub
    Report of the Third North America Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement Rutgers University - New Brunswick, New Jersey October 10-12, 2003
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 19, 2003
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      Report of the Third North America Conference
      of the Palestine Solidarity Movement

      Rutgers University - New Brunswick, New Jersey
      October 10-12, 2003



      At Rutgers/New Brunswick, today's ground zero for the struggle for
      Palestine in
      the United States, Palestine emerged victorious!

      Defeating one of the most vicious Zionist and rightwing-orchestrated
      on Palestine solidarity in North America in recent history, the Third
      America Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement ("PSM") at
      University (the "Conference") concluded its proceedings and
      activities with a
      resounding success and a determination to forge forward to build a
      unified and
      principled movement. The Conference was held in the spirit of
      resistance to
      Israeli war tanks that were during that very time destroying hundreds
      of homes
      and neighborhoods in Rafah, Palestine.

      In what will be recorded as a definitional event in the history of
      solidarity in the US, this was the first ever conference of this size
      significance to announce its actual venue only 48 hours prior to
      convening to
      outmaneuver the enormous systematic pressure imposed by the Zionist
      and rightwing forces that had caused the cancellation of all

      The Zionist movement at its highest levels had considered this
      Conference and
      the divestment movement as its top priority target, recruiting to the
      the governor of New Jersey, Rutgers University president, and state
      and federal
      agencies along with dozens of elected officials. According to all
      reports, never before did the Zionist movement bus into an American
      town five
      to seven thousand Israeli supporters for the sole purpose of
      silencing and
      intimidating the Palestine solidarity movement. Such is what AIPAC,
      the ADL,
      state and local Zionist forces did on that weekend to shore-up the
      largest ever
      pro-Israel campus counter-event, termed "Israel Inspires."

      This was the first time ever that a state governor would actively
      campaign to
      reverse divestment and to leverage Zionist and rightwing frenzy to
      investing public funds in Israeli bonds. New Jersey Governor, Jim
      did just that, by announcing to the Zionist rally of many thousands
      that he was
      the first governor in New Jersey to invest Public Employees Pension
      Funds in
      Israeli bonds.

      Additionally, never before did a national conference convene with
      such success
      against a systematic and extensive campaign from simultaneous
      multiple sources
      repeatedly announcing its cancellation in all media venues and forms
      up to the
      day it was actually being held.

      Yet, despite all stacked odds, between Friday and Sunday, October 10-
      12, 2003,
      at least 300 committed nationwide activists, including many founders
      of the PSM
      and divestment movement that was initiated in 2001 in Berkeley,
      participated undeterred in the proceedings and activities of the
      Third PSM
      Conference. They came from as far as California and Florida to join
      others from the Midwest and the East Coast determined to register a
      stand in solidarity with Palestinian people.

      Reflecting the worldwide support extended to the Third PSM Conference
      the enthusiastic endorsement of 229 organizations (listed below) and
      individuals, the conveners resolved to unify the PSM, maintain the
      of divestment as its anchor, and protect its founding principles that
      were set
      in Berkeley, California in 2001.

      In that context of unity, the Conference reaffirmed its commitment to
      existing principles without any alteration, and passed a resolution
      establish a PSM Coordinating Committee that is open to all
      organizations that
      support the existing principles of unity. In addition to setting an
      plan and an open mechanism of implementation, the Conference also
      resolved to
      propose to the movement at large that the Fourth North America PSM
      be held in Northern California - the strong founding region of the

      Of all the national and international massive support for Conference,
      inspiring support from the Abna el-Balad Movement in Palestine was of
      meaning. It affirmed the unity of the Palestinian people in all of
      sectors, and the need to maintain a principled position on the nature
      of the
      Apartheid system of the Israeli polity.

      Conference Challenges:

      With more than 1,000 letters of support worldwide, and an endorsement
      list that
      intersects North America with the Arab World, this 3-day event was
      historic in
      the tasks placed on its shoulders. The Conference faced monumental
      challenges related to the constant forced venue cancellation and the
      campaign that whipped a frenzy against the Palestine Solidarity
      Against such unprecedented difficulties, the Conference was
      nonetheless tasked
      with securing a unified solidarity and divestment movement that is
      rooted in
      supporting the self-determination of the Palestinian people.
      Primarily, the
      Conference aimed to:

      1. Ensure that the primary contradiction for the PSM at all time is
      internal but with Zionism and colonial designs in all their forms.
      This was
      evidenced in the massive assault the Zionist movement waged against
      Conference and the amount of resources it channeled in a failed
      attempt to
      secure its cancellation.

      2. Ensure that the Palestine Solidarity Movement does not transform
      principles and programs to selective and conditional solidarity that
      inevitably lead to a colonial power structure.

      3. Protect the centrality of institutional divestment, particularly
      on college
      campuses, as the core anchor program of the PSM, with corporate
      campaigns as an integral part of divestment but not as an exclusive

      4. Maintain a principled unity in the PSM and to expand the reach of
      movement to all organizations and individuals in agreement with the
      of unity to include both student and community groups.

      5. Provide an organizational structure that is voluntary and non-
      binding, yet
      able to coordinate national programs and safeguard the consensus of
      the PSM.

      Conference Rallied in Support of Palestine and Free Speech

      In the spirit of defiance against Zionist intimidation and rightwing
      Conference participants held a powerful rally on Saturday afternoon
      on the
      grounds of Rutgers University. At 4:30 PM participants boarded
      busses and cars
      and headed towards Rutgers University for a show of determination,
      unity, and
      solidarity. Zionists throughout the rally attempted to disrupt and
      participants in the most aggressive manner, but to no avail as the
      level of
      political awareness was exceptionally high.

      After a spirited and emotionally charged rally and standoff, and in a
      rare show
      of commitment, rally participants boarded back the busses and
      returned to the
      final plenary of that day that addressed the history of Palestine
      Following the plenary, the Conference opened the first portion of the
      organizing session, which continued into the evening. The Saturday
      rally was
      also unique in that Conference participants left the venue of the
      to an off-site location, rallied, and returned in full for several
      hours of
      additional commitment and hard work. The rally received extensive
      coverage, and demonstrated that a principled and well-organized
      movement can
      stand strong in the face of all odds.

      Conference Defeated Racial Profiling and Zionist Intimidation:

      Racial Profiling: Registering at the hotel where Conference
      proceedings were
      held was no less challenging than holding the Conference itself.
      obtaining their rooms at the hotel front desk, "Arab or Muslim
      and "dark skinned" participants were asked to present their
      cards and were told that a copy would be made and kept by the hotel.
      personnel revealed that they were required to maintain this record by
      enforcement, which appear to have demanded the list of participants.
      prompted the hotel to implement this politically motivated racial
      practice. Conference participants strongly and emphatically objected
      to this
      practice and demanded the return of all acquired copies. A legal
      team was
      immediately assembled, and the hotel management was informed that
      should they
      continue their practice legal action would be initiated promptly.
      All copies
      were returned, and hotel management stopped this profiling practice.

      Zionist Intimidation: Throughout the duration of all proceedings and
      the on-
      campus rally on Saturday afternoon, Zionists attempted to use various
      means to
      politically and physically intimidate participants and record all
      It would be safe to state that the vast majority of participants were
      photographed through close-ups and remotely placed zoom-cameras, some
      of which
      were visible at a distance between trees. The process of
      photographing the
      participants took an exceptionally intrusive and aggressive nature in
      order to
      create a confrontation that would undermine the Conference and the
      Zionist attempts at infiltration were ongoing throughout the duration
      of the
      conference leading to several confrontations with the volunteer
      security team.

      At one point on Saturday morning, a tripod-mounted CNN camera set to
      record the
      opening session was stolen without a trace. During that same
      afternoon, it appeared that there was an attempt to set-off fire
      sprinklers in
      the second floor of the Conference area where all the workshops were
      being held
      in order to disrupt the proceedings.

      Conference Decisions:

      I - Principles of Unity:

      The Conference resolved to affirm unchanged the existing principles
      of unity
      set forth in the founding Conference in Berkeley, California, 2001.
      decision was made in order to safeguard and build towards the unity
      of the
      movement. These principles are:
      1. The PSM is committed to a core set of principles.

      2. The PSM believes that the Palestinian people must ultimately be
      able to
      decide their future in Palestine. Certain key principles, grounded
      in, but not
      limited to, international law, human rights, and basic standards of
      will be fundamental to a just resolution to the plight of the
      These include:

      o the full decolonization of all Palestinian land, including
      which are illegal under international law;

      o the end of the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank,
      East Jerusalem and all Arab lands;

      o the recognition and implementation of the right of return and
      for all Palestinian refugees to their original homes and properties;

      o an end to the Israeli system of Apartheid and discrimination
      against the
      indigenous Palestinian population.

      3. Just as the PSM condemns the racism and discrimination inherent
      in Zionism
      underlying the policies and laws of the state of Israel, the PSM
      rejects any
      form of hatred or discrimination against any group based on race,
      religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

      4. The PSM's strength is in the great diversity of its membership.
      The PSM
      welcomes individuals of all ethnic and religious backgrounds to join
      solidarity with the struggle for justice in Palestine.

      5. As a solidarity movement, it is not our place to dictate the
      strategies or
      tactics adopted by the Palestinian people in their struggle for


      6. The PSM seeks to promote the following campaigns:

      o Divestment from Israel

      o Ending U.S. aid to Israel

      o Right of Return

      Using tactics which may include:

      o Education

      o Public demonstrations and rallies

      o Civil disobedience or direct action

      7. The PSM does not endorse activities that contradict the guiding
      as stated above.

      8. Individuals or groups acting as members, representatives, or
      sponsors of
      the PSM agree to abide by the code of conduct and promote its guiding

      9. In the interest of building a more unified and expanding
      movement for justice and human rights in Palestine, individuals or
      groups may
      endorse and sign on to the above guiding principles.

      II. Establishing A PSM Coordinating Committee

      In order to facilitate open and voluntary coordination within the
      members of the PSM, and in an effort to include within the movement
      student and community organizations, the Conference resolved to
      establish a:

      "National Coordinating Committee of the Palestine Solidarity Movement
      based on
      the principles of unity, to facilitate the implementation of the
      program, of which divestment is the central focus."

      Groups agreeing to the principles of unity can join the coordinating
      by writing to:

      III. Action Plan:

      In addition to calling for implementing educational campaigns on
      Palestine in
      all areas, the Conference resolved to support and call for the

      o Strengthen and support the establishment of a Divestment Resource
      o Called for nationally coordinated action in commemoration of Land
      Day (March
      30) and the Deir Yasin Massacre (April 9).
      o Called for nationally coordinated action in support of Palestine
      on May 15,
      2004, in commemoration of the Nakba in 1948.
      o Support the October 25 mobilization against war in Washington,
      D.C. and San
      Francisco, and organize a Palestine solidarity contingency
      o Call for national Palestine solidarity protests at the Republican
      Democratic National Conventions
      o Support the mobilization in defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal

      IV. Establishment of Committees:

      The Conference resolved to establish the following committees:

      1. International Coordination Committee
      2. Reconciliation Committee to internally strengthen the unity of
      the PSM.
      3. Mobilization Committee (rallies, events, etc.)
      4. Student/Community Resource/Education Committee in support of the
      Resource Center (DRC), to be established in service of the divestment
      5. Finance Committee
      6. National Outreach Committee
      7. Communication (website) Committee

      V. Support for Civil Liberties:

      The Conference issued the following resolution:

      "The Third PSM Conference condemns the assault on civil liberties on
      people, particularly Arab Americans and Muslims, and demands the
      repealing of
      the USA Patriot Act, and calls for support for all those who have
      been unjustly
      criminalized in particular the LA-8 and Dr. Sami Al-Arian.

      The Conference further rejects all attempts to vilify Palestine
      solidarity work
      and calls on all to join in the solidarity movement for Palestine."

      VI. Proposed Venue for the Fourth PSM Conference:

      The Conference resolved to propose to the movement that the Fourth
      Conference be held in Northern California.

      VII. Endorsement:

      The following is a list of 229 organizations that endorsed the Third
      America Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement -New
      Brunswick, New
      Jersey. All organizations agreeing with the principles of unity
      outlined above
      are encouraged to join.

      20th of March Movement for Change - Cairo, Egypt
      A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
      Abnaa elBalad Movement
      Ad-Hoc Nepal Solidarity Committee
      Aisha, Arab Women Forum - Cairo, Egypt
      AGEG, The Anti Globalization Egypt Group
      Al-Awda Los Angeles
      Al-Awda NY/NJ
      Al-Awda Orange County
      Al-Awda San Diego
      Al-Awda, San Francisco Area
      Al-Bireh Palestine Society - California
      Al-Fatiha Foundation for LGBTIQ Muslims
      Al Nadeem
      Aman, Network of NGOs working against Torture in the Middle East and
      American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee - Fresno Chapter
      American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee - Greater Sacramento Area
      American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee - Los Angeles/Orange
      County Chapter
      American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee - San Francisco Bay Area
      Americans for a Just Peace in the Middle East
      Americans for Social Justice
      Amnesty International of Park Falls, WI
      Ann Arbor Coalition Against the War
      ANSWER Coalition, Boston
      ANSWER Coalition, Chicago
      ANSWER Coalition, Los Angeles
      ANSWER Coalition, Orange County
      ANSWER Coalition, SF Bay Area
      ANSWER Coalition, Western Mass
      Applied Research Institute (ARIJ) - Jerusalem, Palestine
      Arab American Caucus of the California Democratic Party
      Arab American Civic Organization
      Arab American Press Guild
      Arab Muslim American Federation
      Arab National Congress ("Al-Mu'tamar al-Qawmi al-Arabi") - Beirut,
      Arise Bookstore Collective
      Arise for Social Justice
      Association of Palestinian Australian Graduates
      Atlanta Palestine Solidarity
      Augusta Coalition for Peace and Justice
      BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights -
      Bay Area United Against War
      Bayan International - U.S.A.
      Bayan International - Los Angeles Chapter
      Bridgewater State College R.E.A.P.S. Restoring Environmental And
      Brisbane Free the Five Committee
      Bus Riders Union/Labor Community Strategy Center
      Campus Greens at The Ohio State University
      Casa las Américas
      Central New Jersey Coalition for Peace and Justice
      Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism
      Christians and Muslims Establishing Peace
      Citizens for Fair Legislation
      Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace
      Colorado Palestine Solidarity Campaign
      Committee for Justice to Defend the LA8
      Committee for the Defence of Democracy - Cairo, Egypt
      Committee for the Release of Farouk Abdel-Muhti
      Committee to Defend Palestinian Human Rights
      Communist Party, USA's, Frederick Douglass Club
      Communist Party of Argentina
      Conscious Roots (San Francisco)
      Dallas Peace Center
      Deir Yassin Society of New York
      Don't Waste Michigan
      Dream Dancer Design
      Egyptian American Professional Society
      Egyptian Association against Torture - Cairo, Egypt
      Egyptian National Committee against Torture - Cairo, Egypt
      Egyptian Popular Committee in Solidarity with the Egyptian Intifada -
      Ever Reviled Records
      First Nations North & South
      For a Better World
      Forum of Indian Leftists
      Free Palestine Alliance - USA
      Freedom Archives
      Gay and Lesbian Arab Society
      Grandmothers for Peace International
      Green Party of Chatham County
      Green Party of Dallas County
      Green Labor Party of Georgia
      Hammerhard MediaWorks - Chicago
      Hawaii Solidarity Committee
      Hisham Mubarak Law Center - Cairo, Egypt
      INCITE! Women of Color against Violence
      Indigenous Student Alliance at Occidental College in Los Angeles,
      International Action Center
      Int'l League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS-US)
      International Socialist Organization, USA
      Islamic Association for Palestine
      Islamic Center of NYU
      Jews Against the Occupation at SUNY Binghamton
      Jews for a Free Palestine
      Just Peace: An Action Group for Justice in the Middle East
      Kabataang maka-Bayan (KmB)
      Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center - Ramallah, Palestine
      Korea Truth Commission
      La Raza Unida Party
      LAGAI -- Queer Insurrection (SF Bay Area)
      Malìa: Collective of Italian American Women
      March For Justice
      Marin Center for Peace and Justice
      Marshall Action for Peaceful Solutions - Marshall University
      MAS Freedom Foundation
      Maui EARTHDAY Collective
      MECA (Middle East Children's Alliance)
      MECCA (Middle Eastern Civilization and Culture Association) of Union
      Mexican American Education Foundation
      Mideast:Just Peace
      Minnesotan's for a United Ireland
      Minority eXperience Network
      Mobtown Autonomous AntiFa - Baltimore
      Modesto Committee for Peace in the Middle East, California
      Morton County Citizens for Repsonsible Government
      Movement In Motion Arts Collective
      Movimento Democratico Pela Anistia
      Muslim Student Association - National
      Muslim Student Association - DC Council
      Muslim Student Association - Hofstra
      Muslim Student Association - Rutgers University-Newark
      Muslim Student Association - Sacramento
      Muslim Student Association - Sacramento-Davis Region West
      Muslim Student Association - San Francisco State University
      Muslim Student Association - UC Davis
      Muslim Student Association - University of Alberta
      Muslim Student Association - University of Maryland, Baltimore County
      Muslim Student Association - University of Saskatchewan
      Muslim Student Association - Virginian Commonwealth University
      Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa
      Nadim for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence - Cairo, Egypt
      Nakba '48
      National Committee to Free the Five Cuban Political Prisoners - Los
      National Lawyers Guild - Los Angeles
      National Lawyers Guild - University of Texas School of Law
      Neoyorquinos Socialistas
      New Jersey Solidarity - Activists for the Liberation of Palestine
      New School Aikido
      New York Committee to Defend Palestine
      New Zealand Peace Council
      Nicaragua Network
      NISPOP - Network in Solidarity with the People of the Philippines
      Northern California Committee of Correspondence for Democracy and
      Not in Our Name México
      NYC Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition
      Orange County Peace and Freedom Party
      Orange County Veterans for Peace
      Palestine Action at Union Square
      Palestine Aid Society
      Palestine Children's Welfare Fund
      Palestine Human Rights Monitoring Group - Palestine
      Palestine Solidarity Committee - Los Angeles
      Palestine Solidarity Committee of South Africa
      Palestine Solidarity Group - Chicago
      Palestine Solidarity Group - Vancouver B.C. Canada
      Palestinian American Congress
      Palestinian American Women Association of Southern California
      Palestinian - Canadian Student Society - University of Calgary,
      Palestinian Center for Human Rights - Gaza, Palestine
      Palestinian Council for Justice and Peace - Ramallah, Palestine
      Palestinian National Association for Youth - Gaza
      Partido Comunista do Brasil
      Peace Action - Sacramento Area, California
      Peace and Justice Alliance (Central Washington University)
      Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County
      Peace and Justice Network of San Joaquin County
      Philadelphia Committee to Free the Five
      Philippine Peasant Support Network (PESANTE)
      Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee
      Progress Acadamic Group - An-Najah University, Nablus, Palestine
      Proyecto Common Touch
      Public Intellectuals for Social and Spare Change
      Punjabi Student Association
      Queers For Peace And Justice
      Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!) (SF Bay Area)
      Racial Justice 9-11, National Network of People of Color Against the
      Ramallah Online
      Reform Party USA - Action Group
      Revolution Youth
      Revolutionary Theory & Action Collective
      Rutgers Acts for Peace and Justice
      Rutgers Pakistan Student Association
      Rutgers University Queens Chorale
      Sacred Roots
      SNAFU - the Support Network for an Armed Forces Union
      SOA Watch West San Jose
      Socialist Research Center - Cairo, Egypt
      Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights - Concordia
      South Asians Against Police Brutality and Racism
      St. Pete for Peace
      Stony Brook Coalition Against War
      Student Labor Action Coalition -- UW-Milwaukee
      Students for Corporate Responsibility - University of Wisconsin -
      Students for Justice - San Jose State University
      Students for Justice in Palestine, California State University,
      Students for Justice in Palestine, UC Berkeley
      Students for Justice in Palestine, UC Davis
      Students for Justice in Palestine, University of Illinois-Chicago
      Students for Social Justice
      Students Movement for Justice
      South Jersey Earth First!
      Suburban Outreach
      Sudanese American Society
      SUSTAIN - Memphis Chapter
      SUSTAIN - Northwest Suburban - Chicago area
      SUSTAIN - St. Louis
      Third World Forum
      Third World Majority
      TopShelf Entertainment, LLC
      UC Berkeley Arab Student Union
      UMAH (United Muslim Association of High Schools)
      Union of Health Care Committees (UHCC) - Nablus, Palestine
      Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento
      Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land
      We The People United
      Weekly East West Link & Urdu Times
      Women Against War
      Women of All Red Nations
      Workers World Party
      Young Muslims of Jersey City
      Youth Business Assocation Fayoum - Egypt
      Youth Solidarity Summer
      YWCA of Palestine

      Long Live Palestine!
      Long Live International Solidarity!

      The Struggle Continues!

      The Organizing Committee of the
      Third North America Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement
      Rutgers-New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
      October 10-12, 2003

      noel winkler



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